The splicing factor transformer2 (tra2) functions in the Drosophila fat body to regulate lipid storage

Cezary Mikoluk, Alexis A. Nagengast, Justin R. DiAngelo

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

4 Scopus citations

Abstract

Excess nutrients are stored as triglycerides mainly in the adipose tissue of an animal and these triglycerides are located in structures called lipid droplets. Previous genome-wide RNAi screens in Drosophila cells identified splicing factors as playing a role in lipid droplet formation. Our lab has recently identified the SR protein, 9G8, as an important factor in fat storage as decreasing its levels results in augmented triglyceride storage in the fat body. Previous in vitro studies have implicated 9G8 in the regulation of splicing of the sex determination gene doublesex (dsx) by binding to transformer (tra) and transformer2 (tra2); however, any function of these sex determination proteins in regulating metabolism is unknown. In this study, we have uncovered a role of tra2 to regulate fat storage in vivo. Inducing tra2dsRNA in the adult fat body resulted in an increase in triglyceride levels but had no effect on glycogen storage. Consistent with the triglyceride phenotype, tra2 knockdown flies lived longer under starvation conditions. In addition, this increase in triglycerides is due to more fat storage per cell and not an increase in the number of fat cells. Interestingly, the splicing of CPT1, an enzyme involved in the breakdown of lipids, was altered in flies with decreased tra2. The less-catalytically active isoform of CPT1 accumulated in tra2dsRNA flies suggesting a decrease in lipid breakdown, which is consistent with the increased triglyceride levels observed in these flies. Together, these results suggest a link between mRNA splicing, sex determination and lipid metabolism and may provide insight into the mechanisms underlying tissue-specific splicing and nutrient storage.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1528-1533
Number of pages6
JournalBiochemical and Biophysical Research Communications
Volume495
Issue number1
DOIs
StatePublished - Jan 1 2018

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Biophysics
  • Biochemistry
  • Molecular Biology
  • Cell Biology

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