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Covalent inhibition of endoplasmic reticulum chaperone GRP78 disconnects the transduction of ER stress signals to inflammation and lipid accumulation in diet-induced obese mice

By Jianhui Rong, Dan Luo, Ni Fan, Xiuying Zhang, Fung Yin Ngo, Jia Zhao, Wei Zhao, Ming Huang, Ding Li, Yu Wang

Posted 20 Aug 2021
bioRxiv DOI: 10.1101/2021.08.20.457085

Targeting endoplasmic reticulum (ER) stress, inflammation and metabolic dysfunctions may halt the pathogenesis of obesity and thereby reduce the prevalence of diabetes, cardiovascular disesases and cancers. The present study was designed to elucidate the mechnaisms by which plant-derived celastrol ameliorated inflammation and lipid accumulation in obesity. The mouse model of diet-induced obesity was induced by feeding high-fat diet for 3 months and subsequently intervented with celastrol for 21 days. Hepatic and adipose tissues were analysed for lipid accumulation, macrophage activation and biomarker expression. As result, celastrol effectively reduced body weight, suppressed ER stress, inflammation and lipogenesis while promoted hepatic lipolysis. RNA-sequencing revealed that celastrol-loaded nanomicelles restored the expression of 49 genes that regulate ER stress, inflammation and lipid metabolism. On the other hand, celastrol-alkyne was synthesized for identifying celastrol-bound proteins in RAW264.7 macrophages. ER chaperone GRP78 was identified by proteomics approach for celastrol binding to the residue Cys41. Upon binding and conjugation, celastrol diminished the chaperone activity of GRP78 by 130-fold and reduced ER stress in palmitate-challenged cells, while celastrol analogue lacking quinone methide failed to exhibit anti-obesity effects. Thus, covalent GRP78 inhibition may induce the reprograming of ER signaling, inflammation and metabolism against diet-induced obesity.

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