FGF6 and FGF9 regulate UCP1 expression independent of brown adipogenesis

Farnaz Shamsi, Ruidan Xue, Tian Lian Huang, Morten Lundh, Yang Liu, Luiz O. Leiria, Matthew D. Lynes, Elena Kempf, Chih Hao Wang, Satoru Sugimoto, Pasquale Nigro, Kathrin Landgraf, Tim Schulz, Yiming Li, Brice Emanuelli, Srinivas Kothakota, Lewis T. Williams, Niels Jessen, Steen Bønløkke Pedersen, Yvonne BöttcherMatthias Blüher, Antje Körner, Laurie J. Goodyear, Moosa Mohammadi, C. Ronald Kahn, Yu Hua Tseng

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Uncoupling protein-1 (UCP1) plays a central role in energy dissipation in brown adipose tissue (BAT). Using high-throughput library screening of secreted peptides, we identify two fibroblast growth factors (FGF), FGF6 and FGF9, as potent inducers of UCP1 expression in adipocytes and preadipocytes. Surprisingly, this occurs through a mechanism independent of adipogenesis and involves FGF receptor-3 (FGFR3), prostaglandin-E2 and interaction between estrogen receptor-related alpha, flightless-1 (FLII) and leucine-rich-repeat-(in FLII)-interacting-protein-1 as a regulatory complex for UCP1 transcription. Physiologically, FGF6/9 expression in adipose is upregulated by exercise and cold in mice, and FGF9/FGFR3 expression in human neck fat is significantly associated with UCP1 expression. Loss of FGF9 impairs BAT thermogenesis. In vivo administration of FGF9 increases UCP1 expression and thermogenic capacity. Thus, FGF6 and FGF9 are adipokines that can regulate UCP1 through a transcriptional network that is dissociated from brown adipogenesis, and act to modulate systemic energy metabolism.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number1421
JournalNature communications
Issue number1
StatePublished - Dec 1 2020

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Chemistry
  • General Biochemistry, Genetics and Molecular Biology
  • General Physics and Astronomy


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