University of Illinois at Chicago
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Knockdown of the Fat Mass and Obesity Gene Disrupts Cellular Energy Balance in a Cell-Type Specific Manner

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posted on 2013-11-08, 00:00 authored by Ryan T. Pitman, Jason T. Fong, Penny Billman, Neelu Puri
Recent studies suggest that FTO variants strongly correlate with obesity and mainly influence energy intake with little effect on the basal metabolic rate. We suggest that FTO influences eating behavior by modulating intracellular energy levels and downstream signaling mechanisms which control energy intake and metabolism. Since FTO plays a particularly important role in adipocytes and in hypothalamic neurons, SH-SY5Y neuronal cells and 3T3-L1 adipocytes were used to understand how siRNA mediated knockdown of FTO expression alters cellular energy homeostasis. Cellular energy status was evaluated by measuring ATP levels using a luminescence assay and uptake of fluorescent glucose. FTO siRNA in SH-SY5Y cells mediated mRNA knockdown (282%), increased ATP concentrations by up to 46% (P = 0.013) compared to controls, and decreased phosphorylation of AMPk and Akt in SH-SY5Y by 252% and 246% respectively as seen by immunoblotting. In contrast, FTO siRNA in 3T3-L1 cells decreased ATP concentration by 293% (p,0.0005), and increased AMPk and Akt phosphorylation by 204% and 70%, respectively suggesting that FTO mediates control of energy levels in a cell-type specific manner. Furthermore, glucose uptake was decreased in both SH-SY5Y (251% p = 0.015) and 3T3-L1 cells (230%, p = 0.0002). We also show that FTO knockdown decreases NPY mRNA expression in SH-SY5Y cells (221%) through upregulation of pSTAT3 (118%). These results provide important evidence that FTO-variant linked obesity may be associated with altered metabolic functions through activation of downstream metabolic mediators including AMPk.


The authors would like to acknowledge the Research Open Access Publishing (ROAAP) Fund of the University of Illinois at Chicago for financial support towards the open access publishing fee for this article.


Publisher Statement

© 2012 Pitman et al. This is an open-access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original author and source are credited.


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