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The primary cilium is required for MC4R control of food intake and body weight

By Yi Wang, Adelaide A Bernard, Fanny Comblain, Xinyu Yue, Christophe Paillart, Sumei Zhang, Jeremy F Reiter, Christian Vaisse

Posted 15 Nov 2020
bioRxiv DOI: 10.1101/2020.11.13.382234

The Melanocortin-4 Receptor (MC4R) plays a critical role in the long-term regulation of energy homeostasis and mutations in MC4R are the most common cause of monogenic obesity. However, the precise molecular and cellular mechanisms underlying the maintenance of energy balance within MC4R expressing neurons are unknown. We recently reported that MC4R localizes to primary cilia, a cellular organelle that allows for partitioning of incoming cellular signals, raising the question of whether MC4R functions there. Here, using mouse genetic approaches, we found that cilia are required specifically on MC4R-expressing neurons to restrain feeding behavior. Moreover, these cilia were critical for pharmacological activators of MC4R to exert an anorexigenic effect. MC4R is expressed in multiple brain regions. Using targeted deletion of primary cilia, we found that cilia in the paraventricular nucleus (PVN) of the hypothalamus are essential to restrict food intake. MC4R activation increases adenylyl cyclase activity. Like removing cilia, inhibiting adenylyl cyclase activity in the cilia of MC4R-expressing neurons of the PVN caused hyperphagia and obesity. Thus, MC4R signals via cilia of PVN neurons to control food intake and body weight. We propose that defects in ciliary localization of MC4R cause obesity in human inherited obesity syndromes and ciliopathies. ### Competing Interest Statement The authors have declared no competing interest.

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