References of "Auwerx, Johan"
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See detailGene-by-environment modulation of lifespan and weight gain in the murine BXD family
Roy, Suheeta; Bou Sleiman, Maroun; Jha, Pooja et al

in Nature Metabolism (2021)

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See detailA platform for experimental precision medicine: The extended BXD mouse family.
Ashbrook, David G.; Arends, Danny; Prins, Pjotr et al

in Cell systems (2021), 12(3), 235-2479

The challenge of precision medicine is to model complex interactions among DNA variants, phenotypes, development, environments, and treatments. We address this challenge by expanding the BXD family of ... [more ▼]

The challenge of precision medicine is to model complex interactions among DNA variants, phenotypes, development, environments, and treatments. We address this challenge by expanding the BXD family of mice to 140 fully isogenic strains, creating a uniquely powerful model for precision medicine. This family segregates for 6 million common DNA variants-a level that exceeds many human populations. Because each member can be replicated, heritable traits can be mapped with high power and precision. Current BXD phenomes are unsurpassed in coverage and include much omics data and thousands of quantitative traits. BXDs can be extended by a single-generation cross to as many as 19,460 isogenic F1 progeny, and this extended BXD family is an effective platform for testing causal modeling and for predictive validation. BXDs are a unique core resource for the field of experimental precision medicine. [less ▲]

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See detailMild inborn errors of metabolism in commonly used inbred mouse strains.
Leandro, Joao; Violante, Sara; Argmann, Carmen A. et al

in Molecular Genetics and Metabolism (2019), 126(4), 388-396

Inbred mouse strains are a cornerstone of translational research but paradoxically many strains carry mild inborn errors of metabolism. For example, alpha-aminoadipic acidemia and branched-chain ketoacid ... [more ▼]

Inbred mouse strains are a cornerstone of translational research but paradoxically many strains carry mild inborn errors of metabolism. For example, alpha-aminoadipic acidemia and branched-chain ketoacid dehydrogenase deficiency are known in C57BL/6J mice. Using RNA sequencing, we now reveal the causal variants in Dhtkd1 and Bckdhb, and the molecular mechanism underlying these metabolic defects. C57BL/6J mice have decreased Dhtkd1 mRNA expression due to a solitary long terminal repeat (LTR) in intron 4 of Dhtkd1. This LTR harbors an alternate splice donor site leading to a partial splicing defect and as a consequence decreased total and functional Dhtkd1 mRNA, decreased DHTKD1 protein and alpha-aminoadipic acidemia. Similarly, C57BL/6J mice have decreased Bckdhb mRNA expression due to an LTR retrotransposon in intron 1 of Bckdhb. This transposable element encodes an alternative exon 1 causing aberrant splicing, decreased total and functional Bckdhb mRNA and decreased BCKDHB protein. Using a targeted metabolomics screen, we also reveal elevated plasma C5-carnitine in 129 substrains. This biochemical phenotype resembles isovaleric acidemia and is caused by an exonic splice mutation in Ivd leading to partial skipping of exon 10 and IVD protein deficiency. In summary, this study identifies three causal variants underlying mild inborn errors of metabolism in commonly used inbred mouse strains. [less ▲]

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See detailDiet modulates cecum bacterial diversity and physiological phenotypes across the BXD mouse genetic reference population.
Perez-Munoz, Maria Elisa; McKnite, Autumn M.; Williams, Evan UL et al

in PloS one (2019), 14(10), 0224100

The BXD family has become one of the preeminent genetic reference populations to understand the genetic and environmental control of phenotypic variation. Here we evaluate the responses to different ... [more ▼]

The BXD family has become one of the preeminent genetic reference populations to understand the genetic and environmental control of phenotypic variation. Here we evaluate the responses to different levels of fat in the diet using both chow diet (CD, 13-18% fat) and a high-fat diet (HFD, 45-60% fat). We studied cohorts of BXD strains, both inbred parents C57BL/6J and DBA/2J (commonly known as B6 and D2, respectively), as well as B6D2 and D2B6 reciprocal F1 hybrids. The comparative impact of genetic and dietary factors was analyzed by profiling a range of phenotypes, most prominently their cecum bacterial composition. The parents of the BXDs and F1 hybrids express limited differences in terms of weight and body fat gain on CD. In contrast, the strain differences on HFD are substantial for percent body fat, with DBA/2J accumulating 12.5% more fat than C57BL/6J (P < 0.0001). The F1 hybrids born to DBA/2J dams (D2B6F1) have 10.6% more body fat (P < 0.001) than those born to C57BL/6J dams. Sequence analysis of the cecum microbiota reveals important differences in bacterial composition among BXD family members with a substantial shift in composition caused by HFD. Relative to CD, the HFD induces a decline in diversity at the phylum level with a substantial increase in Firmicutes (+13.8%) and a reduction in Actinobacteria (-7.9%). In the majority of BXD strains, the HFD also increases cecal sIgA (P < 0.0001)-an important component of the adaptive immunity response against microbial pathogens. Host genetics modulates variation in cecum bacterial composition at the genus level in CD, with significant quantitative trait loci (QTLs) for Oscillibacter mapped to Chr 3 (18.7-19.2 Mb, LRS = 21.4) and for Bifidobacterium mapped to Chr 6 (89.21-89.37 Mb, LRS = 19.4). Introduction of HFD served as an environmental suppressor of these QTLs due to a reduction in the contribution of both genera (P < 0.001). Relations among liver metabolites and cecum bacterial composition were predominant in CD cohort, but these correlations do not persist following the shift to HFD. Overall, these findings demonstrate the important impact of environmental/dietary manipulation on the relationships between host genetics, gastrointestinal bacterial composition, immunological parameters, and metabolites-knowledge that will help in the understanding of the causal sources of metabolic disorders. [less ▲]

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See detailQuantifying and Localizing the Mitochondrial Proteome Across Five Tissues in A Mouse Population.
Williams, Evan UL; Wu, Yibo; Wolski, Witold et al

in Molecular and Cellular Proteomics (2018), 17(9), 1766-1777

We have used SWATH mass spectrometry to quantify 3648 proteins across 76 proteomes collected from genetically diverse BXD mouse strains in two fractions (mitochondria and total cell) from five tissues ... [more ▼]

We have used SWATH mass spectrometry to quantify 3648 proteins across 76 proteomes collected from genetically diverse BXD mouse strains in two fractions (mitochondria and total cell) from five tissues: liver, quadriceps, heart, brain, and brown adipose (BAT). Across tissues, expression covariation between genes' proteins and transcripts-measured in the same individuals-broadly aligned. Covariation was however far stronger in certain subsets than others: only 8% of transcripts in the lowest expression and variance quintile covaried with their protein, in contrast to 65% of transcripts in the highest quintiles. Key functional differences among the 3648 genes were also observed across tissues, with electron transport chain (ETC) genes particularly investigated. ETC complex proteins covary and form strong gene networks according to tissue, but their equivalent transcripts do not. Certain physiological consequences, such as the depletion of ATP synthase in BAT, are thus obscured in transcript data. Lastly, we compared the quantitative proteomic measurements between the total cell and mitochondrial fractions for the five tissues. The resulting enrichment score highlighted several hundred proteins which were strongly enriched in mitochondria, which included several dozen proteins were not reported in literature to be mitochondrially localized. Four of these candidates were selected for biochemical validation, where we found MTAP, SOAT2, and IMPDH2 to be localized inside the mitochondria, whereas ABCC6 was in the mitochondria-associated membrane. These findings demonstrate the synergies of a multi-omics approach to study complex metabolic processes, and this provides a resource for further discovery and analysis of proteoforms, modified proteins, and protein localization. [less ▲]

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See detailSystems Analyses Reveal Physiological Roles and Genetic Regulators of Liver Lipid Species.
Jha, Pooja; McDevitt, Molly T.; Gupta, Rahul et al

in Cell systems (2018), 6(6), 722-7336

The genetics of individual lipid species and their relevance in disease is largely unresolved. We profiled a subset of storage, signaling, membrane, and mitochondrial liver lipids across 385 mice from 47 ... [more ▼]

The genetics of individual lipid species and their relevance in disease is largely unresolved. We profiled a subset of storage, signaling, membrane, and mitochondrial liver lipids across 385 mice from 47 strains of the BXD mouse population fed chow or high-fat diet and integrated these data with complementary multi-omics datasets. We identified several lipid species and lipid clusters with specific phenotypic and molecular signatures and, in particular, cardiolipin species with signatures of healthy and fatty liver. Genetic analyses revealed quantitative trait loci for 68% of the lipids (lQTL). By multi-layered omics analyses, we show the reliability of lQTLs to uncover candidate genes that can regulate the levels of lipid species. Additionally, we identified lQTLs that mapped to genes associated with abnormal lipid metabolism in human GWASs. This work provides a foundation and resource for understanding the genetic regulation and physiological significance of lipid species. [less ▲]

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See detailGenetic Regulation of Plasma Lipid Species and Their Association with Metabolic Phenotypes.
Jha, Pooja; McDevitt, Molly T.; Halilbasic, Emina et al

in Cell systems (2018), 6(6), 709-7216

The genetic regulation and physiological impact of most lipid species are unexplored. Here, we profiled 129 plasma lipid species across 49 strains of the BXD mouse genetic reference population fed either ... [more ▼]

The genetic regulation and physiological impact of most lipid species are unexplored. Here, we profiled 129 plasma lipid species across 49 strains of the BXD mouse genetic reference population fed either chow or a high-fat diet. By integrating these data with genomics and phenomics datasets, we elucidated genes by environment (diet) interactions that regulate systemic metabolism. We found quantitative trait loci (QTLs) for approximately 94% of the lipids measured. Several QTLs harbored genes associated with blood lipid levels and abnormal lipid metabolism in human genome-wide association studies. Lipid species from different classes provided signatures of metabolic health, including seven plasma triglyceride species that associated with either healthy or fatty liver. This observation was further validated in an independent mouse model of non-alcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD) and in plasma from NAFLD patients. This work provides a resource to identify plausible genes regulating the measured lipid species and their association with metabolic traits. [less ▲]

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See detailGenetic cartography of longevity in humans and mice: Current landscape and horizons.
Hook, Michael; Roy, Suheeta; Williams, Evan UL et al

in Biochimica et biophysica acta. Molecular basis of disease (2018), 1864(9 Pt A), 2718-2732

Aging is a complex and highly variable process. Heritability of longevity among humans and other species is low, and this finding has given rise to the idea that it may be futile to search for DNA ... [more ▼]

Aging is a complex and highly variable process. Heritability of longevity among humans and other species is low, and this finding has given rise to the idea that it may be futile to search for DNA variants that modulate aging. We argue that the problem in mapping longevity genes is mainly one of low power and the genetic and environmental complexity of aging. In this review we highlight progress made in mapping genes and molecular networks associated with longevity, paying special attention to work in mice and humans. We summarize 40years of linkage studies using murine cohorts and 15years of studies in human populations that have exploited candidate gene and genome-wide association methods. A small but growing number of gene variants contribute to known longevity mechanisms, but a much larger set have unknown functions. We outline these and other challenges and suggest some possible solutions, including more intense collaboration between research communities that use model organisms and human cohorts. Once hundreds of gene variants have been linked to differences in longevity in mammals, it will become feasible to systematically explore gene-by-environmental interactions, dissect mechanisms with more assurance, and evaluate the roles of epistasis and epigenetics in aging. A deeper understanding of complex networks-genetic, cellular, physiological, and social-should position us well to improve healthspan. [less ▲]

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See detailThe Movement Tracker: A Flexible System for Automated Movement Analysis in Invertebrate Model Organisms.
Mouchiroud, Laurent; Sorrentino, Vincenzo; Williams, Evan UL et al

in Current protocols in neuroscience (2016), 77

Phenotyping strategies in simple model organisms such as D. melanogaster and C. elegans are often broadly limited to growth, aging, and fitness. Recently, a number of physical setups and video tracking ... [more ▼]

Phenotyping strategies in simple model organisms such as D. melanogaster and C. elegans are often broadly limited to growth, aging, and fitness. Recently, a number of physical setups and video tracking software suites have been developed to allow for accurate, quantitative, and high-throughput analysis of movement in flies and worms. However, many of these systems require precise experimental setups and/or fixed recording formats. We report here an update to the Parallel Worm Tracker software, which we termed the Movement Tracker. The Movement Tracker allows variable experimental setups to provide cross-platform automated processing of a variety of movement characteristics in both worms and flies and permits the use of simple physical setups that can be readily implemented in any laboratory. This software allows high-throughput processing capabilities and high levels of flexibility in video analysis, providing quantitative movement data on C. elegans and D. melanogaster in a variety of different conditions. (c) 2016 by John Wiley & Sons, Inc. [less ▲]

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See detailUrolithin A induces mitophagy and prolongs lifespan in C. elegans and increases muscle function in rodents.
Ryu, Dongryeol; Mouchiroud, Laurent; Andreux, Penelope A. et al

in Nature medicine (2016), 22(8), 879-88

The biological effects of urolithins remain poorly characterized, despite wide-spread human exposure via the dietary consumption of their metabolic precursors, the ellagitannins, which are found in the ... [more ▼]

The biological effects of urolithins remain poorly characterized, despite wide-spread human exposure via the dietary consumption of their metabolic precursors, the ellagitannins, which are found in the pomegranate fruit, as well as in nuts and berries. We identified urolithin A (UA) as a first-in-class natural compound that induces mitophagy both in vitro and in vivo following oral consumption. In C. elegans, UA prevented the accumulation of dysfunctional mitochondria with age and extended lifespan. Likewise, UA prolonged normal activity during aging in C. elegans, including mobility and pharyngeal pumping, while maintaining mitochondrial respiratory capacity. These effects translated to rodents, where UA improved exercise capacity in two different mouse models of age-related decline of muscle function, as well as in young rats. Our findings highlight the health benefits of urolithin A and its potential application in strategies to improve mitochondrial and muscle function. [less ▲]

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See detailSystems proteomics of liver mitochondria function.
Williams, Evan UL; Wu, Yibo; Jha, Pooja et al

in Science (New York, N.Y.) (2016), 352(6291), 0189

Recent improvements in quantitative proteomics approaches, including Sequential Window Acquisition of all Theoretical Mass Spectra (SWATH-MS), permit reproducible large-scale protein measurements across ... [more ▼]

Recent improvements in quantitative proteomics approaches, including Sequential Window Acquisition of all Theoretical Mass Spectra (SWATH-MS), permit reproducible large-scale protein measurements across diverse cohorts. Together with genomics, transcriptomics, and other technologies, transomic data sets can be generated that permit detailed analyses across broad molecular interaction networks. Here, we examine mitochondrial links to liver metabolism through the genome, transcriptome, proteome, and metabolome of 386 individuals in the BXD mouse reference population. Several links were validated between genetic variants toward transcripts, proteins, metabolites, and phenotypes. Among these, sequence variants in Cox7a2l alter its protein's activity, which in turn leads to downstream differences in mitochondrial supercomplex formation. This data set demonstrates that the proteome can now be quantified comprehensively, serving as a key complement to transcriptomics, genomics, and metabolomics--a combination moving us forward in complex trait analysis. [less ▲]

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See detailTwo Conserved Histone Demethylases Regulate Mitochondrial Stress-Induced Longevity.
Merkwirth, Carsten; Jovaisaite, Virginija; Durieux, Jenni et al

in Cell (2016), 165(5), 1209-1223

Across eukaryotic species, mild mitochondrial stress can have beneficial effects on the lifespan of organisms. Mitochondrial dysfunction activates an unfolded protein response (UPR(mt)), a stress ... [more ▼]

Across eukaryotic species, mild mitochondrial stress can have beneficial effects on the lifespan of organisms. Mitochondrial dysfunction activates an unfolded protein response (UPR(mt)), a stress signaling mechanism designed to ensure mitochondrial homeostasis. Perturbation of mitochondria during larval development in C. elegans not only delays aging but also maintains UPR(mt) signaling, suggesting an epigenetic mechanism that modulates both longevity and mitochondrial proteostasis throughout life. We identify the conserved histone lysine demethylases jmjd-1.2/PHF8 and jmjd-3.1/JMJD3 as positive regulators of lifespan in response to mitochondrial dysfunction across species. Reduction of function of the demethylases potently suppresses longevity and UPR(mt) induction, while gain of function is sufficient to extend lifespan in a UPR(mt)-dependent manner. A systems genetics approach in the BXD mouse reference population further indicates conserved roles of the mammalian orthologs in longevity and UPR(mt) signaling. These findings illustrate an evolutionary conserved epigenetic mechanism that determines the rate of aging downstream of mitochondrial perturbations. [less ▲]

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See detailJoint mouse-human phenome-wide association to test gene function and disease risk.
Wang, Xusheng; Pandey, Ashutosh K.; Mulligan, Megan K. et al

in Nature communications (2016), 7

Phenome-wide association is a novel reverse genetic strategy to analyze genome-to-phenome relations in human clinical cohorts. Here we test this approach using a large murine population segregating for ... [more ▼]

Phenome-wide association is a novel reverse genetic strategy to analyze genome-to-phenome relations in human clinical cohorts. Here we test this approach using a large murine population segregating for approximately 5 million sequence variants, and we compare our results to those extracted from a matched analysis of gene variants in a large human cohort. For the mouse cohort, we amassed a deep and broad open-access phenome consisting of approximately 4,500 metabolic, physiological, pharmacological and behavioural traits, and more than 90 independent expression quantitative trait locus (QTL), transcriptome, proteome, metagenome and metabolome data sets--by far the largest coherent phenome for any experimental cohort (www.genenetwork.org). We tested downstream effects of subsets of variants and discovered several novel associations, including a missense mutation in fumarate hydratase that controls variation in the mitochondrial unfolded protein response in both mouse and Caenorhabditis elegans, and missense mutations in Col6a5 that underlies variation in bone mineral density in both mouse and human. [less ▲]

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See detailEvidence for a direct effect of the NAD+ precursor acipimox on muscle mitochondrial function in humans.
van de Weijer, Tineke; Phielix, Esther; Bilet, Lena et al

in Diabetes (2015), 64(4), 1193-201

Recent preclinical studies showed the potential of nicotinamide adenine dinucleotide (NAD(+)) precursors to increase oxidative phosphorylation and improve metabolic health, but human data are lacking. We ... [more ▼]

Recent preclinical studies showed the potential of nicotinamide adenine dinucleotide (NAD(+)) precursors to increase oxidative phosphorylation and improve metabolic health, but human data are lacking. We hypothesize that the nicotinic acid derivative acipimox, an NAD(+) precursor, would directly affect mitochondrial function independent of reductions in nonesterified fatty acid (NEFA) concentrations. In a multicenter randomized crossover trial, 21 patients with type 2 diabetes (age 57.7 +/- 1.1 years, BMI 33.4 +/- 0.8 kg/m(2)) received either placebo or acipimox 250 mg three times daily dosage for 2 weeks. Acipimox treatment increased plasma NEFA levels (759 +/- 44 vs. 1,135 +/- 97 mumol/L for placebo vs. acipimox, P < 0.01) owing to a previously described rebound effect. As a result, skeletal muscle lipid content increased and insulin sensitivity decreased. Despite the elevated plasma NEFA levels, ex vivo mitochondrial respiration in skeletal muscle increased. Subsequently, we showed that acipimox treatment resulted in a robust elevation in expression of nuclear-encoded mitochondrial gene sets and a mitonuclear protein imbalance, which may indicate activation of the mitochondrial unfolded protein response. Further studies in C2C12 myotubes confirmed a direct effect of acipimox on NAD(+) levels, mitonuclear protein imbalance, and mitochondrial oxidative capacity. To the best of our knowledge, this study is the first to demonstrate that NAD(+) boosters can also directly affect skeletal muscle mitochondrial function in humans. [less ▲]

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See detailThe Convergence of Systems and Reductionist Approaches in Complex Trait Analysis.
Williams, Evan UL; Auwerx, Johan

in Cell (2015), 162(1), 23-32

Research into the genetic and environmental factors behind complex trait variation has traditionally been segregated into distinct scientific camps. The reductionist approach aims to decrypt phenotypic ... [more ▼]

Research into the genetic and environmental factors behind complex trait variation has traditionally been segregated into distinct scientific camps. The reductionist approach aims to decrypt phenotypic variability bit by bit, founded on the underlying hypothesis that genome-to-phenome relations are largely constructed from the additive effects of their molecular players. In contrast, the systems approach aims to examine large-scale interactions of many components simultaneously, on the premise that interactions in gene networks can be both linear and non-linear. Both approaches are complementary, and they are becoming increasingly intertwined due to developments in gene editing tools, omics technologies, and population resources. Together, these strategies are beginning to drive the next era in complex trait research, paving the way to improve agriculture and toward more personalized medicine. [less ▲]

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See detailTetracyclines Disturb Mitochondrial Function across Eukaryotic Models: A Call for Caution in Biomedical Research.
Moullan, Norman; Mouchiroud, Laurent; Wang, Xu et al

in Cell reports (2015), 10(10), 1681-1691

In recent years, tetracyclines, such as doxycycline, have become broadly used to control gene expression by virtue of the Tet-on/Tet-off systems. However, the wide range of direct effects of tetracycline ... [more ▼]

In recent years, tetracyclines, such as doxycycline, have become broadly used to control gene expression by virtue of the Tet-on/Tet-off systems. However, the wide range of direct effects of tetracycline use has not been fully appreciated. We show here that these antibiotics induce a mitonuclear protein imbalance through their effects on mitochondrial translation, an effect that likely reflects the evolutionary relationship between mitochondria and proteobacteria. Even at low concentrations, tetracyclines induce mitochondrial proteotoxic stress, leading to changes in nuclear gene expression and altered mitochondrial dynamics and function in commonly used cell types, as well as worms, flies, mice, and plants. Given that tetracyclines are so widely applied in research, scientists should be aware of their potentially confounding effects on experimental results. Furthermore, these results caution against extensive use of tetracyclines in livestock due to potential downstream impacts on the environment and human health. [less ▲]

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See detailMultilayered genetic and omics dissection of mitochondrial activity in a mouse reference population.
Wu, Yibo; Williams, Evan UL; Dubuis, Sebastien et al

in Cell (2014), 158(6), 1415-1430

The manner by which genotype and environment affect complex phenotypes is one of the fundamental questions in biology. In this study, we quantified the transcriptome--a subset of the metabolome--and ... [more ▼]

The manner by which genotype and environment affect complex phenotypes is one of the fundamental questions in biology. In this study, we quantified the transcriptome--a subset of the metabolome--and, using targeted proteomics, quantified a subset of the liver proteome from 40 strains of the BXD mouse genetic reference population on two diverse diets. We discovered dozens of transcript, protein, and metabolite QTLs, several of which linked to metabolic phenotypes. Most prominently, Dhtkd1 was identified as a primary regulator of 2-aminoadipate, explaining variance in fasted glucose and diabetes status in both mice and humans. These integrated molecular profiles also allowed further characterization of complex pathways, particularly the mitochondrial unfolded protein response (UPR(mt)). UPR(mt) shows strikingly variant responses at the transcript and protein level that are remarkably conserved among C. elegans, mice, and humans. Overall, these examples demonstrate the value of an integrated multilayered omics approach to characterize complex metabolic phenotypes. [less ▲]

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See detailPharmacological Inhibition of poly(ADP-ribose) polymerases improves fitness and mitochondrial function in skeletal muscle.
Pirinen, Eija; Canto, Carles; Jo, Young Suk et al

in Cell metabolism (2014), 19(6), 1034-41

We previously demonstrated that the deletion of the poly(ADP-ribose)polymerase (Parp)-1 gene in mice enhances oxidative metabolism, thereby protecting against diet-induced obesity. However, the ... [more ▼]

We previously demonstrated that the deletion of the poly(ADP-ribose)polymerase (Parp)-1 gene in mice enhances oxidative metabolism, thereby protecting against diet-induced obesity. However, the therapeutic use of PARP inhibitors to enhance mitochondrial function remains to be explored. Here, we show tight negative correlation between Parp-1 expression and energy expenditure in heterogeneous mouse populations, indicating that variations in PARP-1 activity have an impact on metabolic homeostasis. Notably, these genetic correlations can be translated into pharmacological applications. Long-term treatment with PARP inhibitors enhances fitness in mice by increasing the abundance of mitochondrial respiratory complexes and boosting mitochondrial respiratory capacity. Furthermore, PARP inhibitors reverse mitochondrial defects in primary myotubes of obese humans and attenuate genetic defects of mitochondrial metabolism in human fibroblasts and C. elegans. Overall, our work validates in worm, mouse, and human models that PARP inhibition may be used to treat both genetic and acquired muscle dysfunction linked to defective mitochondrial function. [less ▲]

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See detailRegulation of steatohepatitis and PPARgamma signaling by distinct AP-1 dimers.
Hasenfuss, Sebastian C.; Bakiri, Latifa; Thomsen, Martin K. et al

in Cell metabolism (2014), 19(1), 84-95

Nonalcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD) affects up to 30% of the adult population in Western societies, yet the underlying molecular pathways remain poorly understood. Here, we identify the dimeric ... [more ▼]

Nonalcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD) affects up to 30% of the adult population in Western societies, yet the underlying molecular pathways remain poorly understood. Here, we identify the dimeric Activator Protein 1 as a regulator of NAFLD. Fos-related antigen 1 (Fra-1) and Fos-related antigen 2 (Fra-2) prevent dietary NAFLD by inhibiting prosteatotic PPARgamma signaling. Moreover, established NAFLD and the associated liver damage can be efficiently reversed by hepatocyte-specific Fra-1 expression. In contrast, c-Fos promotes PPARgamma expression, while c-Jun exerts opposing, dimer-dependent functions. Interestingly, JunD was found to be essential for PPARgamma signaling and NAFLD development. This unique antagonistic regulation of PPARgamma by distinct AP-1 dimers occurs at the transcriptional level and establishes AP-1 as a link between obesity, hepatic lipid metabolism, and NAFLD. [less ▲]

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See detailAn evolutionarily conserved role for the aryl hydrocarbon receptor in the regulation of movement.
Williams, Evan UL; Mouchiroud, Laurent; Frochaux, Michael et al

in PLoS genetics (2014), 10(9), 1004673

The BXD genetic reference population is a recombinant inbred panel descended from crosses between the C57BL/6 (B6) and DBA/2 (D2) strains of mice, which segregate for about 5 million sequence variants ... [more ▼]

The BXD genetic reference population is a recombinant inbred panel descended from crosses between the C57BL/6 (B6) and DBA/2 (D2) strains of mice, which segregate for about 5 million sequence variants. Recently, some of these variants have been established with effects on general metabolic phenotypes such as glucose response and bone strength. Here we phenotype 43 BXD strains and observe they have large variation (-5-fold) in their spontaneous activity during waking hours. QTL analyses indicate that -40% of this variance is attributable to a narrow locus containing the aryl hydrocarbon receptor (Ahr), a basic helix-loop-helix transcription factor with well-established roles in development and xenobiotic metabolism. Strains with the D2 allele of Ahr have reduced gene expression compared to those with the B6 allele, and have significantly higher spontaneous activity. This effect was also observed in B6 mice with a congenic D2 Ahr interval, and in B6 mice with a humanized AHR allele which, like the D2 allele, is expressed much less and has less enzymatic activity than the B6 allele. Ahr is highly conserved in invertebrates, and strikingly inhibition of its orthologs in D. melanogaster and C. elegans (spineless and ahr-1) leads to marked increases in basal activity. In mammals, Ahr has numerous ligands, but most are either non-selective (e.g. resveratrol) or highly toxic (e.g., 2,3,7,8-tetrachlorodibenzo-p-dioxin (TCDD)). Thus, we chose to examine a major environmental influence--long term feeding with high fat diet (HFD)--to see if the effects of Ahr are dependent on major metabolic differences. Interestingly, while HFD robustly halved movement across all strains, the QTL position and effects of Ahr remained unchanged, indicating that the effects are independent. The highly consistent effects of Ahr on movement indicate that changes in its constitutive activity have a role on spontaneous movement and may influence human behavior. [less ▲]

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