RNA-Seq and Mass-Spectrometry-Based Lipidomics Reveal Extensive Changes of Glycerolipid Pathways in Brown Adipose Tissue in Response to Cold

Cell Rep. 2015 Dec 1;13(9):2000-13. doi: 10.1016/j.celrep.2015.10.069. Epub 2015 Nov 25.


Cold exposure greatly alters brown adipose tissue (BAT) gene expression and metabolism to increase thermogenic capacity. Here, we used RNA sequencing and mass-spectrometry-based lipidomics to provide a comprehensive resource describing the molecular signature of cold adaptation at the level of the transcriptome and lipidome. We show that short-term (3-day) cold exposure leads to a robust increase in expression of several brown adipocyte genes related to thermogenesis as well as the gene encoding the hormone irisin. However, pathway analysis shows that the most significantly induced genes are those involved in glycerophospholipid synthesis and fatty acid elongation. This is accompanied by significant changes in the acyl chain composition of triacylglycerols (TAGs) as well as subspecies-selective changes of acyl chains in glycerophospholipids. These results indicate that cold adaptation of BAT is associated with significant and highly species-selective remodeling of both TAGs and glycerophospholipids.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adipose Tissue, Brown / metabolism*
  • Animals
  • Cluster Analysis
  • Cold Temperature
  • Fibronectins / metabolism
  • Glutathione / metabolism
  • Glycerophospholipids / metabolism*
  • Male
  • Mass Spectrometry
  • Mice
  • Mice, Inbred C57BL
  • RNA / metabolism
  • Sequence Analysis, RNA
  • Thermogenesis
  • Time Factors
  • Transcriptome


  • FNDC5 protein, mouse
  • Fibronectins
  • Glycerophospholipids
  • RNA
  • Glutathione

Associated data

  • GEO/GSE70437