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Cell Metab. 2009 Feb;9(2):191-202. doi: 10.1016/j.cmet.2008.12.008.

Fasting-induced hypothermia and reduced energy production in mice lacking acetyl-CoA synthetase 2.

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Laboratory for Systems Biology and Medicine, Research Center for Advanced Science and Technology, University of Tokyo, Tokyo, Japan.


Acetate is activated to acetyl-CoA by acetyl-CoA synthetase 2 (AceCS2), a mitochondrial enzyme. Here, we report that the activation of acetate by AceCS2 has a specific and unique role in thermogenesis during fasting. In the skeletal muscle of fasted AceCS2(-/-) mice, ATP levels were reduced by 50% compared to AceCS2(+/+) mice. Fasted AceCS2(-/-) mice were significantly hypothermic and had reduced exercise capacity. Furthermore, when fed a low-carbohydrate diet, 4-week-old weaned AceCS2(-/-) mice also exhibited hypothermia accompanied by sustained hypoglycemia that led to a 50% mortality. Therefore, AceCS2 plays a significant role in acetate oxidation needed to generate ATP and heat. Furthermore, AceCS2(-/-) mice exhibited increased oxygen consumption and reduced weight gain on a low-carbohydrate diet. Our findings demonstrate that activation of acetate by AceCS2 plays a pivotal role in thermogenesis, especially under low-glucose or ketogenic conditions, and is crucially required for survival.

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