OBJECTIVE: A better understanding of the processes influencing energy expenditure could provide new therapeutic strategies for reducing obesity. As the metabolic activity of the brown adipose tissue (BAT) and skeletal muscle is an important determinant of overall energy expenditure and adiposity, we investigated the role of genes that could influence cellular bioenergetics in these two tissues. DESIGN: We screened for genes that are induced in both the BAT and skeletal muscle during acute adaptive thermogenesis in the mouse by microarray. We used C57BL/6J mice as well as the primary and immortalized brown adipocytes and C2C12 myocytes to validate the microarray data. Further characterization included gene expression, mitochondrial density, cellular respiration and substrate utilization. We also used a Hybrid Mouse Diversity Panel to assess in vivo effects on obesity and body fat content. RESULTS: We identified the transcription factor Zbtb16 (also known as Plzf and Zfp14) as being induced in both the BAT and skeletal muscle during acute adaptive thermogenesis. Zbtb16 overexpression in brown adipocytes led to the induction of components of the thermogenic program, including genes involved in fatty acid oxidation, glycolysis and mitochondrial function. Enhanced Zbtb16 expression also increased mitochondrial number, as well as the respiratory capacity and uncoupling. These effects were accompanied by decreased triglyceride content and increased carbohydrate utilization in brown adipocytes. Natural variation in Zbtb16 mRNA levels in multiple tissues across a panel of >100 mouse strains was inversely correlated with body weight and body fat content. CONCLUSION: Our results implicate Zbtb16 as a novel determinant of substrate utilization in brown adipocytes and of adiposity in vivo.
- Adaptive thermogenesis
- Plzf; brown adipose tissue
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Internal Medicine
- Endocrinology, Diabetes and Metabolism