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EMBO J. 2010 Oct 6;29(19):3395-407. doi: 10.1038/emboj.2010.197. Epub 2010 Aug 17.

The nuclear receptor PPARγ individually responds to serotonin- and fatty acid-metabolites.

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The Takara Bio Endowed Division, Department of Biomolecular Recognition, Institute for Protein Research, Osaka University, Open Laboratories of Advanced Bioscience and Biotechnology, Furuedai, Suita, Osaka, Japan.


The nuclear receptor, peroxisome proliferator-activated receptor γ (PPARγ), recognizes various synthetic and endogenous ligands by the ligand-binding domain. Fatty-acid metabolites reportedly activate PPARγ through conformational changes of the Ω loop. Here, we report that serotonin metabolites act as endogenous agonists for PPARγ to regulate macrophage function and adipogenesis by directly binding to helix H12. A cyclooxygenase inhibitor, indomethacin, is a mimetic agonist of these metabolites. Crystallographic analyses revealed that an indole acetate functions as a common moiety for the recognition by the sub-pocket near helix H12. Intriguingly, a serotonin metabolite and a fatty-acid metabolite each bind to distinct sub-pockets, and the PPARγ antagonist, T0070907, blocked the fatty-acid agonism, but not that of the serotonin metabolites. Mutational analyses on receptor-mediated transcription and coactivator binding revealed that each metabolite individually uses coregulator and/or heterodimer interfaces in a ligand-type-specific manner. Furthermore, the inhibition of the serotonin metabolism reduced the expression of the endogenous PPARγ-target gene. Collectively, these results suggest a novel agonism, in which PPARγ functions as a multiple sensor in response to distinct metabolites.

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