4E-BPs control fat storage by regulating the expression of Egr1 and ATGL [Metabolism]

March 26th, 2015 by Singh, M., Shin, Y.-K., Yang, X., Zehr, B., Chakrabarti, P., Kandror, K. V.

Early growth response transcription factor Egr1 controls multiple aspects of cell physiology and metabolism. In particular, Egr1 suppresses lipolysis and promotes fat accumulation in adipocytes by inhibiting the expression of adipose triglyceride lipase. According to current dogma, regulation of the Egr1 expression takes place primarily at the level of transcription. Correspondingly, treatment of cultured adipocytes with insulin stimulates expression of Egr1 mRNA and protein. Unexpectedly, the MEK inhibitor PD98059 completely blocks insulin-stimulated increase in the Egr1 mRNA but has only a moderate effect on the Egr1 protein. At the same time, mTORC1 inhibitors rapamycin and PP242 suppress expression of the Egr1 protein and have an opposite effect on the Egr1 mRNA. Mouse embryonic fibroblasts with genetic ablations of TSC2 or 4E-BP1/2 express less Egr1 mRNA but more Egr1 protein than wild type controls. 35S-labeling has confirmed that translation of the Egr1 mRNA is much more effective in 4E-BP1/2-null cells than in control. A selective agonist of the CB1 receptors, ACEA, up-regulates Egr1 mRNA, but does not activate mTORC1 and does not increase Egr1 protein in adipocytes. These data suggest that although insulin activates both the Erk and the mTORC1 signaling pathways in adipocytes, regulation of the Egr1 expression takes place predominantly via the mTORC1/4E-BP-mediated axis. In confirmation of this model, we show that 4E-BP1/2-null MEFs express less ATGL and accumulate more fat than control cells, while knock down of Egr1 in 4E-BP1/2-null MEFs increases ATGL expression and decreases fat storage.