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Sci Rep. 2016 Jul 15;6:30030. doi: 10.1038/srep30030.

Proteomic Analysis of Human Brown Adipose Tissue Reveals Utilization of Coupled and Uncoupled Energy Expenditure Pathways.

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Institute of Food, Nutrition and Health, ETH Zurich, Schwerzenbach, Switzerland.
Institute of Molecular Systems Biology, ETH Zurich, Zurich, Switzerland.
Life Science Zurich Graduate School, Molecular Life Sciences Program, Zurich, Switzerland.
Department of Otorhinolaryngology - Head and Neck Surgery, Faculty of Medicine and University Hospital, Comenius University, Bratislava, Slovakia.
Institute of Experimental Endocrinology, Biomedical Research Center at the Slovak Academy of Sciences, Bratislava, Slovakia.
UMR 7277, Centre National de la Recherche Scientifique, U1091, Institut National de la Santé et de la Recherche Médicale, Institute of Biology Valrose, University Nice Sophia Antipolis, Nice, France.


Human brown adipose tissue (BAT) has become an attractive target to combat the current epidemical spread of obesity and its associated co-morbidities. Currently, information on its functional role is primarily derived from rodent studies. Here, we present the first comparative proteotype analysis of primary human brown adipose tissue versus adjacent white adipose tissue, which reveals significant quantitative differences in protein abundances and in turn differential functional capabilities. The majority of the 318 proteins with increased abundance in BAT are associated with mitochondrial metabolism and confirm the increased oxidative capacity. In addition to uncoupling protein 1 (UCP1), the main functional effector for uncoupled respiration, we also detected the mitochondrial creatine kinases (CKMT1A/B, CKMT2), as effective modulators of ATP synthase coupled respiration, to be exclusively expressed in BAT. The abundant expression and utilization of both energy expenditure pathways in parallel highlights the complex functional involvement of BAT in human physiology.

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