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J Biol Chem. 2001 Nov 30;276(48):45456-61. Epub 2001 Oct 1.

Stimulation of lipolysis and hormone-sensitive lipase via the extracellular signal-regulated kinase pathway.

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Jean Meyer United States Department of Agriculture Human Nutrition Research Center on Aging at Tufts University 02111, USA.


Hormonally stimulated lipolysis occurs by activation of cyclic AMP-dependent protein kinase (PKA) which phosphorylates hormone-sensitive lipase (HSL) and increases adipocyte lipolysis. Evidence suggests that catecholamines not only can activate PKA, but also the mitogen-activated protein kinase pathway and extracellular signal-regulated kinase (ERK). We now demonstrate that two different inhibitors of MEK, the upstream activator of ERK, block catecholamine- and beta(3)-stimulated lipolysis by approximately 30%. Furthermore, treatment of adipocytes with dioctanoylglycerol, which activates ERK, increases lipolysis, although MEK inhibitors decrease dioctanoylglycerol-stimulated activation of lipolysis. Using a tamoxifen regulatable Raf system expressed in 3T3-L1 preadipocytes, exposure to tamoxifen causes a 14-fold activation of ERK within 15-30 min and results in approximately 2-fold increase in HSL activity. In addition, when differentiated 3T3-L1 cells expressing the regulatable Raf were exposed to tamoxifen, a 2-fold increase in lipolysis is observed. HSL is a substrate of activated ERK and site-directed mutagenesis of putative ERK consensus phosphorylation sites in HSL identified Ser(600) as the site phosphorylated by active ERK. When S600A HSL was expressed in 3T3-L1 cells expressing the regulatable Raf, tamoxifen treatment fails to increase its activity. Thus, activation of the ERK pathway appears to be able to regulate adipocyte lipolysis by phosphorylating HSL on Ser(600) and increasing the activity of HSL.

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