In response to cold, norepinephrine (NE)-induced triacylglycerol hydrolysis (lipolysis) in adipocytes of brown adipose tissue (BAT) provides fatty acid substrates to mitochondria for heat generation (adaptive thermogenesis). NE-induced lipolysis is mediated by protein kinase A (PKA)-dependent phosphorylation of perilipin, a lipid droplet-associated protein that is the major regulator of lipolysis. We investigated the role of perilipin PKA phosphorylation in BAT NE-stimulated thermogenesis using a novel mouse model in which a mutant form of perilipin, lacking all six PKA phosphorylation sites, is expressed in adipocytes of perilipin knockout (Peri KO) mice. Here, we show that despite a normal mitochondrial respiratory capacity, NE-induced lipolysis is abrogated in the interscapular brown adipose tissue (IBAT) of these mice. This lipolytic constraint is accompanied by a dramatic blunting (∼70%) of the in vivo thermal response to NE. Thus, in the presence of perilipin, PKA-mediated perilipin phosphorylation is essential for NE-dependent lipolysis and full adaptive thermogenesis in BAT. In IBAT of Peri KO mice, increased basal lipolysis attributable to the absence of perilipin is sufficient to support a rapid NE-stimulated temperature increase (∼3.0°C) comparable to that in wild-type mice. This observation suggests that one or more NE-dependent mechanism downstream of perilipin phosphorylation is required to initiate and/or sustain the IBAT thermal response.
- Brown adipocytes
- Norepinephrine-induced thermal response
- Protein kinase A-stimulated lipolysis
ASJC Scopus subject areas