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Glycogen metabolism links glucose homeostasis to thermogenesis in adipocytes
Nature  (IF49.962),  Pub Date : 2021-10-27, DOI: 10.1038/s41586-021-04019-8
Omer Keinan, Joseph M. Valentine, Haopeng Xiao, Sushil K. Mahata, Shannon M. Reilly, Mohammad Abu-Odeh, Julia H. Deluca, Benyamin Dadpey, Leslie Cho, Austin Pan, Ruth T. Yu, Yang Dai, Christopher Liddle, Michael Downes, Ronald M. Evans, Aldons J. Lusis, Markku Laakso, Edward T. Chouchani, Mikael Ryde’n, Alan R. Saltiel

Adipocytes increase energy expenditure in response to prolonged sympathetic activation via persistent expression of uncoupling protein 1 (UCP1)1,2. Here we report that the regulation of glycogen metabolism by catecholamines is critical for UCP1 expression. Chronic β-adrenergic activation leads to increased glycogen accumulation in adipocytes expressing UCP1. Adipocyte-specific deletion of a scaffolding protein, protein targeting to glycogen (PTG), reduces glycogen levels in beige adipocytes, attenuating UCP1 expression and responsiveness to cold or β-adrenergic receptor-stimulated weight loss in obese mice. Unexpectedly, we observed that glycogen synthesis and degradation are increased in response to catecholamines, and that glycogen turnover is required to produce reactive oxygen species leading to the activation of p38 MAPK, which drives UCP1 expression. Thus, glycogen has a key regulatory role in adipocytes, linking glucose metabolism to thermogenesis.