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Ming-sheng Ye, Liping Luo, Qi Guo, Tian Su, Peng Cheng, and Yan Huang

Brown adipose tissue (BAT) is emerging as a target to beat obesity through the dissipation of chemical energy to heat. However, the molecular mechanisms of brown adipocyte thermogenesis remain to be further elucidated. Here, we show that KCTD10, a member of the polymerase delta-interacting protein 1 family, was reduced in BAT by cold stress and a β3 adrenoceptor agonist. Moreover, KCTD10 level increased in the BAT of obese mice, and KCTD10 overexpression attenuates uncoupling protein 1 expression in primary brown adipocytes. BAT-specific KCTD10 knockdown mice had increased thermogenesis and cold tolerance protecting from high-fat diet (HFD)-induced obesity. Conversely, overexpression of KCTD10 in BAT caused reduced thermogenesis, cold intolerance, and obesity. Mechanistically, inhibiting Notch signaling restored the KCTD10 overexpression-suppressed thermogenesis. Our study presents that KCTD10 serves as an upstream regulator of Notch signaling pathway to regulate BAT thermogenesis and whole-body metabolic function.

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Ya Liu, Xiaoqing Zhou, Ye Xiao, Changjun Li, Yan Huang, Qi Guo, Tian Su, Lei Fu, and Liping Luo

Nonalcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD) is becoming the most prevalent liver disease worldwide, is characterized by liver steatosis and is often accompanied with other pathological features such as insulin resistance. However, the underlying mechanisms are not fully understood, and specific pharmacological agents need to be developed. Here, we investigated the role of microRNA-188 (miR-188) as a negative regulator in hepatic glucose and lipid metabolism. miR-188 was upregulated in the liver of obese mice. Loss of miR-188 alleviated diet-induced hepatosteatosis and insulin resistance. In contrast, liver-specific overexpression of miR-188 aggravated hepatic steatosis and insulin resistance during high-fat diet feeding. Mechanistically, we found that the negative effects of miR-188 on lipid and glucose metabolism were mediated by the autophagy pathway via targeting autophagy-related gene 12 (Atg12). Furthermore, suppressing miR-188 in the liver of obese mice improved liver steatosis and insulin resistance. Taken together, our findings reveal a new regulatory role of miR-188 in glucose and lipid metabolism through the autophagy pathway, and provide a therapeutic insight for NAFLD.

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Lin-guo Pei, Qi Zhang, Chao Yuan, Min Liu, Yun-fei Zou, Feng Lv, Da-ji Luo, Shan Zhong, and Hui Wang

Prenatal caffeine exposure (PCE) can induce testicular developmental toxicity. Here, we aimed to explore the underlying mechanism of this process in reference to its intrauterine origin. Pregnant rats were intragastrically administrated caffeine (30 and 120 mg/kg/day) from gestational days 9 to 20. The results showed that the male fetuses exposed to high dose of caffeine (120 mg/kg/day) had a decreased bodyweight and inhibited testosterone synthetic function. Meanwhile, their serum corticosterone concentration was elevated and their testicular insulin-like growth factor 1 (Igf1) expression was decreased. Moreover, the histone 3 lysine 14 acetylation (H3K14ac) level in the Igf1 promoter region was reduced. Low-dose (30 mg/kg/day) caffeine exposure, however, increased steroidogenic enzymes expression in male fetuses. After birth, the serum corticosterone concentration gradually decreased in the PCE (120 mg/kg/day) offspring rats, whereas the expression and H3K14ac level of Igf1 gradually increased, with obvious catch-up growth and testicular development compensation. Intriguingly, when we subjected the offspring to 2 weeks of chronic stress to elevate the serum corticosterone concentration, the expression of Igf1 and testosterone synthesis were inhibited again in the PCE (120 mg/kg/day) group, accompanied by a decrease in the H3K14ac level in the Igf1 promoter region. In vitro, corticosterone (rather than caffeine) was proved to inhibit testosterone production in Leydig cells by altering the H3K14ac level and the expression of Igf1. These observations suggested that PCE-induced testicular developmental toxicity is related to the negative regulation of corticosterone on H3K14ac levels and the expression of Igf1.

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Yujiao Dai, Peng Hao, Zhimei Sun, Zhiyi Guo, Hong Xu, Lihui Xue, Hongyu Song, Yida Li, Shuang Li, Mingming Gao, Teng Si, Yuxin Zhang, and Yajuan Qi

Yes-associated protein (YAP), as a co-activator of transcription factors, is a downstream protein in the Hippo signaling pathway with important functions in cell proliferation, apoptosis, invasion and migration. YAP also plays a key role in the development of CCl4-induced liver fibrosis. However, the mechanism of YAP during hepatic fibrosis progression and reversion is still unclear. Mild liver fibrosis was developed after 4 months of high-fat diet (HFD) stimulation, and we found that the YAP signaling pathway was activated. Here, we aim to reveal whether specific knockout of Yap gene in the liver can improve liver fibrosis induced by insulin resistance (IR) stimulated by HFD, and further explain its specific mechanism. We found that liver-specific Yap gene knockout improved IR-induced liver fibrosis and liver dysfunction, and this mechanism is related to the inhibition of the insulin signal pathway at the FoxO1 level. These findings provide a new insight, and Yap is expected to be a new target to reverse the early stage of liver fibrosis induced by IR.