Research ArticleMetabolism

Estrogen receptor α controls metabolism in white and brown adipocytes by regulating Polg1 and mitochondrial remodeling

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Science Translational Medicine  05 Aug 2020:
Vol. 12, Issue 555, eaax8096
DOI: 10.1126/scitranslmed.aax8096

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Estrogen receptor energetics

The estrogen receptor α (ERα; encoded by ESR1) is implicated in aging-related obesity. Zhou et al. now provide evidence that ERα affects metabolism by controlling mitochondrial dynamics and function in both white and brown adipose tissue. Expression of ESR1 in adipose tissue associated with reduced visceral adiposity and increased insulin sensitivity in two independent human cohorts and a panel of mice. Follow-up experiments in mice indicated that Esr1 deletion in white adipose tissue promoted parkin-driven mitophagy, whereas Esr1 deletion in brown adipose tissue reduced thermogenesis. Mechanistically, the authors tied these metabolic responses to direct ERα-driven control of a mitochondrial DNA polymerase subunit in both types of fat.

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