Activin signaling mediates muscle-to-adipose communication in a mitochondria dysfunction-associated obesity model [Genetics]
Mitochondrial dysfunction has been associated with obesity and metabolic disorders. However, whether mitochondrial perturbation in a single tissue influences mitochondrial function and metabolic status of another distal tissue remains largely unknown. We analyzed the nonautonomous role of muscular mitochondrial dysfunction in Drosophila. Surprisingly, impaired muscle mitochondrial function via complex I perturbation results in simultaneous mitochondrial dysfunction in the fat body (the fly adipose tissue) and subsequent triglyceride accumulation, the major characteristic of obesity. RNA-sequencing (RNA-seq) analysis, in the context of muscle mitochondrial dysfunction, revealed that target genes of the TGF-β signaling pathway were induced in the fat body. Strikingly, expression of the TGF-β family ligand, Activin-β (Actβ), was dramatically increased in the muscles by NF-κB/Relish (Rel) signaling in response to mitochondrial perturbation, and decreasing Actβ expression in mitochondrial-perturbed muscles rescued both the fat body mitochondrial dysfunction and obesity phenotypes. Thus, perturbation of muscle mitochondrial activity regulates mitochondrial function in the fat body nonautonomously via modulation of Activin signaling.
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