A functional variant of the adipocyte glycerol channel aquaporin 7 gene is associated with obesity and related metabolic abnormalities
ABSTRACT Aquaporin 7 (AQP7), the gateway protein controlling glycerol release, has recently emerged as a modulator of adipocyte metabolism. AQP7 knockout mice develop obesity and hyperglycemia. The contribution of AQP7 to these abnormalities in humans is unknown. We examined whether common single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) in the AQP7 gene modulate the risk of obesity and related abnormalities. Among several SNPs we identified, A-953G in the AQP7 promoter was associated with type 2 diabetes in 977 (530 female/447 male) Caucasians: odds ratio for XG (i.e., AG+GG) versus AA individuals was 1.36 (95% CI 1.01-1.84), P = 0.04. This finding was entirely due to the association among females (1.8 [1.2-2.6], P = 0.004), which was no longer significant when adjusted for BMI. In fact, BMI was higher in XG than in AA females (30.8 +/- 6.6 vs. 28.9 +/- 5.2, P = 0.002). This association was confirmed in independent case-control study (n = 299 female subjects) for morbid obesity (1.66 [1.01-2.74], P = 0.04). Luciferase and mobility shift assays showed that, compared with -953A, the -953G promoter had reduced transcriptional activity (P = 0.001) and impaired ability to bind CCAAT/enhancer binding protein (C/EBP)beta transcription factor (P = 0.01). Finally, AQP7 expression in adipose tissue decreased from AA to AG to GG individuals (P = 0.036). These data strongly suggest that AQP7 downregulation is pathogenic for obesity and/or type 2 diabetes.
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ABSTRACT: Aquaporins (AQPs) are membrane water/glycerol channels that are involved in many physiological processes. Their primary function is to facilitate the bidirectional transfer of water and small solutes across biological membranes in response to osmotic gradients. Aquaglyceroporins, a subset of the AQP family, are the only mammalian proteins with the ability to permeate glycerol. For a long time, AQP7 has been the only aquaglyceroporin associated with the adipose tissue, which is the major source of circulating glycerol in response to the energy demand. AQP7 dysregulation was positively correlated with obesity onset and adipocyte glycerol permeation through AQP7 was appointed as a novel regulator of adipocyte metabolism and whole-body fat mass. Recently, AQP3, AQP9, AQP10 and AQP11 were additionally identified in human adipocytes and proposed as additional glycerol pathways in these cells. This review contextualizes the importance of aquaglyceroporins in adipose tissue biology and highlights aquaglyceroporins' unique structural features which are relevant for the design of effective therapeutic compounds. We also refer to the latest advances in the identification and characterization of novel aquaporin isoforms in adipose tissue. Finally, considerations on the actual progress of aquaporin research and its implications on obesity therapy are suggested.Cellular and Molecular Life Sciences CMLS 10/2014; DOI:10.1007/s00018-014-1773-2 · 5.86 Impact Factor
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ABSTRACT: Background Adipocyte-secreted apelin contributes to decreased adiposity and to improved insulin resistance, but the mechanisms remain unknown. The present study aimed to assess if apelin-13 is an upstream signal regulation factor of aquaporin 7 (AQP7), a water-glycerol transporter present in the plasma membrane of adipocytes that plays a key role in the regulation of lipid accumulation. Material and Methods 3T3-L1 pre-adipocytes were induced to fully differentiated adipocytes; hypertrophic adipocytes were then induced using palmitate. The effects of apelin-13 on AQP7 expression in hypertrophic adipocytes were investigated before and after treatment with LY249002, a PI3K inhibitor. Accumulation of cytoplasmic triglycerides (TG) in hypertrophic adipocytes was also determined. Results We found that 0.1 mM of palmitate induced a model of hypertrophic adipocytes with a lower AQP7 expression (0.26±0.07 vs. 0.46±0.04, P<0.05). Apelin-13 100 nM or 1000 nM upregulated AQP7 mRNA expression (100 nM: 0.54±0.06 and 1000 nM: 0.58±0.09 vs. control: 0.33±0.04, both P<0.05), and decreased accumulation of cytoplasmic triglycerides in hypertrophic adipocytes. Pretreatment using 10 µM LY294002 prevented the increase in AQP7 expression observed when using apelin-13 alone (apelin-13 + LY49002: 0.38±0.03 vs. apelin-13: 0.54±0.06, P<0.05), as well as the decreased cytoplasmic TG accumulation (apelin-13 + LY294002: 3.79±0.04 µM per µg/ml vs. apelin-13: 3.32±0.08 µM per µg/ml, P<0.05). Conclusions Apelin-13 decreases lipid storage in hypertrophic adipocytes in vitro, possibly through the upregulation of AQP7 expression by the PI3K signaling pathway. Treatment using apelin-13 and AQP modulators might represent novel treatment strategies against obesity and its related complications.Medical science monitor: international medical journal of experimental and clinical research 08/2014; 20:1345-52. DOI:10.12659/MSM.890124 · 1.22 Impact Factor