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The Journal of Biochemistry
Year: 2009  |  Volume: 146  |  Issue: 6  |  Page No.: 787 - 796

Possible Role of Mitochondrial Remodelling on Cellular Triacylglycerol Accumulation

T Kita, H Nishida, H Shibata, S Niimi, T Higuti and N. Arakaki    

Abstract:

Mitochondrial fusion and fission processes play a role in a variety of cell functions, including energy metabolism, cell differentiation and programmed cell death. Still, it is not clear how these processes contribute to the cell functions. Here, we investigated the role of mitochondrial remodelling on lipid metabolism in adipocytes. In 3T3-L1 pre-adipocytes, the morphology of mitochondria is organized as a continuous reticulum. Upon differentiation of adipocytes manifested by cellular triacylglycerol (TG) accumulation, mitochondrial morphology altered from filamentous to fragmented and/or punctate structures. When the mitochondrial fusion was induced in adipocytes by silencing of mitochondrial fission proteins including Fis1 and Drp1, the cellular TG content was decreased. In contrast, the silencing of mitochondrial fusion proteins including mitofusin 2 and Opa1 increased the cellular TG content followed by fragmentation of mitochondria. It also appears that polyphenolic phytochemicals, negative regulators of lipid accumulation, have mitochondrial fusion activity and that there is a good correlation between mitochondrial fusion activity and the cellular TG accumulation-reducing activity of the phytochemicals. These results suggest that cellular TG accumulation is regulated, at least in part, via mitochondrial fusion and fission processes.

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