Tumor necrosis factor α (TNFα) and other members of the TNF family affect adipose tissue metabolism and contribute to the obesity-related inflammation of adipose tissue. Here, we sought to identify the effects of TRAIL (TNF-related apoptosis-inducing ligand) on fat cell biology. TRAIL-receptor 2 (TRAIL-R2) and its mouse homolog DR5 were regulated upon acute and chronic energy imbalance in murine and human adipose tissue. TRAIL inhibited insulin-stimulated glucose uptake and de novo lipogenesis in human adipocytes. Interestingly, TRAIL did not interfere with the phosphorylation of insulin-stimulated kinases such as Akt or Erk and did not activate the NF-κB pathway. Instead, TRAIL activated cleavage of caspase-8 and caspase-3. The subsequent cleavage of PPARγ led to its inactivation and resulted in reduced expression of lipogenic genes, such as Glut-4, FASN, and ACC. Taken together, we discovered a so far unknown function of the death ligand TRAIL in regulating adipocyte metabolism. Our results imply that TRAIL/TRAIL-R system might provide a new target for the prevention and treatment of obesity and its co-morbidities.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Cellular and Molecular Neuroscience
- Cell Biology
- Cancer Research