UCP1 is an essential mediator of the effects of methionine restriction on energy balance but not insulin sensitivity

FASEB J. 2015 Jun;29(6):2603-15. doi: 10.1096/fj.14-270348. Epub 2015 Mar 5.


Dietary methionine restriction (MR) by 80% increases energy expenditure (EE), reduces adiposity, and improves insulin sensitivity. We propose that the MR-induced increase in EE limits fat deposition by increasing sympathetic nervous system-dependent remodeling of white adipose tissue and increasing uncoupling protein 1 (UCP1) expression in both white and brown adipose tissue. In independent assessments of the role of UCP1 as a mediator of MR's effects on EE and insulin sensitivity, EE did not differ between wild-type (WT) and Ucp1(-/-) mice on the control diet, but MR increased EE by 31% and reduced adiposity by 25% in WT mice. In contrast, MR failed to increase EE or reduce adiposity in Ucp1(-/-) mice. However, MR was able to increase overall insulin sensitivity by 2.2-fold in both genotypes. Housing temperatures used to minimize (28°C) or increase (23°C) sympathetic nervous system activity revealed temperature-independent effects of the diet on EE. Metabolomics analysis showed that genotypic and dietary effects on white adipose tissue remodeling resulted in profound increases in fatty acid metabolism within this tissue. These findings establish that UCP1 is required for the MR-induced increase in EE but not insulin sensitivity and suggest that diet-induced improvements in insulin sensitivity are not strictly derived from dietary effects on energy balance.

Keywords: FGF21; adipose tissue; amino acid; housing temperature; obesity.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adipose Tissue, White / drug effects
  • Adipose Tissue, White / metabolism
  • Adiposity / drug effects
  • Animals
  • Blood Glucose / metabolism
  • Blotting, Western
  • Diet*
  • Energy Metabolism / drug effects*
  • Fatty Acids / metabolism
  • Gene Expression / drug effects
  • Genotype
  • Insulin / blood
  • Insulin Resistance*
  • Ion Channels / genetics
  • Ion Channels / metabolism*
  • Male
  • Metabolomics / methods
  • Methionine / administration & dosage
  • Methionine / pharmacology*
  • Mice, Inbred C57BL
  • Mice, Knockout
  • Mitochondrial Proteins / genetics
  • Mitochondrial Proteins / metabolism*
  • Reverse Transcriptase Polymerase Chain Reaction
  • Temperature
  • Uncoupling Protein 1


  • Blood Glucose
  • Fatty Acids
  • Insulin
  • Ion Channels
  • Mitochondrial Proteins
  • Ucp1 protein, mouse
  • Uncoupling Protein 1
  • Methionine