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PPAR Research
Volume 2012, Article ID 320454, 7 pages
Research Article

Transcriptional Activity of PGC-1 and NT-PGC-1 Is Differentially Regulated by Twist-1 in Brown Fat Metabolism

Laboratory of Nutrient Sensing and Adipocyte Signaling, Pennington Biomedical Research Center, 6400 Perkins Road, Baton Rouge, LA 70808, USA

Received 8 August 2012; Revised 5 September 2012; Accepted 7 September 2012

Academic Editor: Shihori Tanabe

Copyright © 2012 Hee-Jin Jun et al. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.


Brown fat expresses two PGC-1α isoforms (PGC-1α and NT-PGC-1α) and both play a central role in the regulation of cellular energy metabolism and adaptive thermogenesis by interacting with a wide range of transcription factors including PPARγ, PPARα, ERRα, and NRF1. PGC-1α consists of 797 amino acids, whereas alternative splicing of the PGC-1α gene produces a shorter protein called NT-PGC-1α (aa 1–270). We report in this paper that transcriptional activity of PGC-1α and NT-PGC-1α is differently affected by the transcriptional regulator, Twist-1. Twist-1 suppresses PGC-1α but not NT-PGC-1α. The inhibition of PGC-1α activity by Twist-1 is mediated by direct interaction through the C-terminal region of PGC-1α (aa 353–797). Thus, the absence of the corresponding C-terminal domain in NT-PGC-1α allows NT-PGC-1α to be free from Twist-1-mediated inhibition. Overexpression of Twist-1 in brown adipocytes suppresses transcription of a subset of PGC-1α-target genes involved in mitochondrial fatty acid oxidation and uncoupling (CPT1β, UCP1, and ERRα). In contrast, NT-PGC-1α-mediated induction of these genes is unaffected by Twist-1. These findings show that differences in inhibitory protein-protein interactions of PGC-1α and NT-PGC-1α with Twist-1 lead to differential regulation of their function by Twist-1.