Mitochondrial phosphatidylethanolamine modulates UCP1 to promote brown adipose thermogenesis

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  • Jordan M. Johnson
  • Alek D. Peterlin
  • Enrique Balderas
  • Elahu G. Sustarsic
  • J. Alan Maschek
  • Marisa J. Lang
  • Alejandro Jara-Ramos
  • Vanja Panic
  • Jeffrey T. Morgan
  • Claudio J. Villanueva
  • Alejandro Sanchez
  • Jared Rutter
  • Irfan J. Lodhi
  • James E. Cox
  • Kelsey H. Fisher-Wellman
  • Dipayan Chaudhuri
  • Gerhart-Hines, Zach
  • Katsuhiko Funai

Thermogenesis by uncoupling protein 1 (UCP1) is one of the primary mechanisms by which brown adipose tissue (BAT) increases energy expenditure. UCP1 resides in the inner mitochondrial membrane (IMM), where it dissipates membrane potential independent of adenosine triphosphate (ATP) synthase. Here, we provide evidence that phosphatidylethanolamine (PE) modulates UCP1-dependent proton conductance across the IMM to modulate thermogenesis. Mitochondrial lipidomic analyses revealed PE as a signature molecule whose abundance bidirectionally responds to changes in thermogenic burden. Reduction in mitochondrial PE by deletion of phosphatidylserine decarboxylase (PSD) made mice cold intolerant and insensitive to β3 adrenergic receptor agonist–induced increase in whole-body oxygen consumption. High-resolution respirometry and fluorometry of BAT mitochondria showed that loss of mitochondrial PE specifically lowers UCP1-dependent respiration without compromising electron transfer efficiency or ATP synthesis. These findings were confirmed by a reduction in UCP1 proton current in PE-deficient mitoplasts. Thus, PE performs a previously unknown role as a temperature-responsive rheostat that regulates UCP1-dependent thermogenesis.

Original languageEnglish
Article numbereade7864
JournalScience Advances
Issue number8
Number of pages15
Publication statusPublished - 2023

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