Regulation of cold-induced thermogenesis by the RNA binding protein FAM195A

Jessica Cannavino, Mengle Shao, Yu A. An, Svetlana Bezprozvannaya, Shiuhwei Chen, Jiwoong Kim, Lin Xu, John R. McAnally, Philipp E. Scherer, Ning Liu, Rana K. Gupta, Rhonda Bassel-Duby, Eric N. Olson

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

5 Scopus citations


Homeothermic vertebrates produce heat in cold environments through thermogenesis, in which brown adipose tissue (BAT) increases mitochondrial oxidation along with uncoupling of the electron transport chain and activation of uncoupling protein 1 (UCP1). Although the transcription factors regulating the expression of UCP1 and nutrient oxidation genes have been extensively studied, only a few other proteins essential for BAT function have been identified. We describe the discovery of FAM195A, a BAT-enriched RNA binding protein, which is required for cold-dependent thermogenesis in mice. FAM195A knockout (KO) mice display whitening of BAT and an inability to thermoregulate. In BAT of FAM195A KO mice, enzymes involved in branched-chain amino acid (BCAA) metabolism are down-regulated, impairing their response to cold. Knockdown of FAM195A in brown adipocytes in vitro also impairs expression of leucine oxidation enzymes, revealing FAM195A to be a regulator of BCAA metabolism and a potential target for metabolic disorders.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article numbere2104650118
JournalProceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America
Issue number23
StatePublished - Apr 29 2021


  • Branched chain amino acids
  • Brown adipose tissue
  • Disordered domain protein
  • RNA binding protein
  • Thermogenesis

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General


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