Overview

There are two types of adipose tissue. White adipose tissue (WAT) accumulates triglycerides (TAG) as the main energy storage form. In modern society, obesity from increased WAT mass, with increased TAG storage to enlarge cell size as well as with increased adipocyte number, became a major health problem or disease, especially because of obesity associated diseases, including type 2 diabetes and cardiovascular disease. In contrast to WAT, brown adipose tissue (BAT) dissipates energy as heat via non-shivering thermogenesis. Recent evidence for the presence of functional BAT in human adults has generated considerable interest in BAT as a potential target of obesity prevention/therapeutics.

 

The three broad aims of research in our lab are to understand:

(1) regulation of TAG synthesis and breakdown

(2) recruitment and differentiation of adipocytes

(3) relationship between WAT and BAT in regard to their function and development.
 

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Histone demethylase JMJD1C, interacting with lipogenic gene regulator USF1, demethylates H3K9me2 in the presence of insulin or upon refeeding to create a chromatin landscape permissive to transcription. Ablation of JMJD1C in the liver protects from hepatic triglyceride accumulation resulting from diet-induced obesity.

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Aifm2, a lipid-droplet-associated NADH oxidase, associates with the mitochondrial inner membrane to regenerate cytosolic NAD for robust glycolysis and to support ETC for thermogenesis.

Key transcription factors, coregulators and epigenetic modifiers of the thermogenic gene program