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Mol Cell Biol. 2013 Sep;33(18):3659-66. doi: 10.1128/MCB.01584-12. Epub 2013 Jul 15.

Insulin inhibits lipolysis in adipocytes via the evolutionarily conserved mTORC1-Egr1-ATGL-mediated pathway.

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Boston University School of Medicine, Boston, Massachusetts, USA.


One of the basic functions of insulin in the body is to inhibit lipolysis in adipocytes. Recently, we have found that insulin inhibits lipolysis and promotes triglyceride storage by decreasing transcription of adipose triglyceride lipase via the mTORC1-mediated pathway (P. Chakrabarti et al., Diabetes 59:775-781, 2010), although the mechanism of this effect remained unknown. Here, we used a genetic screen in Saccharomyces cerevisiae in order to identify a transcription factor that mediates the effect of Tor1 on the expression of the ATGL ortholog in yeast. This factor, Msn4p, has homologues in mammalian cells that form a family of early growth response transcription factors. One member of the family, Egr1, is induced by insulin and nutrients and directly inhibits activity of the ATGL promoter in vitro and expression of ATGL in cultured adipocytes. Feeding animals a high-fat diet increases the activity of mTORC1 and the expression of Egr1 while decreasing ATGL levels in epididymal fat. We suggest that the evolutionarily conserved mTORC1-Egr1-ATGL regulatory pathway represents an important component of the antilipolytic effect of insulin in the mammalian organism.

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