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Cell Rep. 2013 Aug 29;4(4):681-8. doi: 10.1016/j.celrep.2013.07.019. Epub 2013 Aug 15.

Role of the mixed-lineage protein kinase pathway in the metabolic stress response to obesity.

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  • 1Program in Molecular Medicine, University of Massachusetts Medical School, Worcester, MA 01605, USA.

Abstract

Saturated free fatty acid (FFA) is implicated in the metabolic response to obesity. In vitro studies indicate that FFA signaling may be mediated by the mixed-lineage protein kinase (MLK) pathway that activates cJun NH2-terminal kinase (JNK). Here, we examined the role of the MLK pathway in vivo using a mouse model of diet-induced obesity. The ubiquitously expressed MLK2 and MLK3 protein kinases have partially redundant functions. We therefore compared wild-type and compound mutant mice that lack expression of MLK2 and MLK3. MLK deficiency protected mice against high-fat-diet-induced insulin resistance and obesity. Reduced JNK activation and increased energy expenditure contribute to the metabolic effects of MLK deficiency. These data confirm that the MLK pathway plays a critical role in the metabolic response to obesity.

Copyright © 2013 The Authors. Published by Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

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