A map of the PGC-1α- and NT-PGC-1α-regulated transcriptional network in brown adipose tissue

Sci Rep. 2018 May 18;8(1):7876. doi: 10.1038/s41598-018-26244-4.


Transcriptional coactivator PGC-1α and its splice variant NT-PGC-1α play crucial roles in regulating cold-induced thermogenesis in brown adipose tissue (BAT). PGC-1α and NT-PGC-1α are highly induced by cold in BAT and subsequently bind to and coactivate many transcription factors to regulate expression of genes involved in mitochondrial biogenesis, fatty acid oxidation, respiration and thermogenesis. To identify the complete repertoire of PGC-1α and NT-PGC-1α target genes in BAT, we analyzed genome-wide DNA-binding and gene expression profiles. We find that PGC-1α-/NT-PGC-1α binding broadly associates with cold-mediated transcriptional activation. In addition to their known target genes in mitochondrial biogenesis and oxidative metabolism, PGC-1α and NT-PGC-1α additionally target a broad spectrum of genes involved in diverse biological pathways including ubiquitin-dependent protein catabolism, ribonucleoprotein complex biosynthesis, phospholipid biosynthesis, angiogenesis, glycogen metabolism, phosphorylation, and autophagy. Our findings expand the number of genes and biological pathways that may be regulated by PGC-1α and NT-PGC-1α and provide further insight into the transcriptional regulatory network in which PGC-1α and NT-PGC-1α coordinate a comprehensive transcriptional response in BAT in response to cold.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural

MeSH terms

  • Adipose Tissue, Brown / metabolism*
  • Animals
  • Binding Sites
  • Chromatin / chemistry
  • Chromatin / metabolism
  • Cold Temperature
  • DNA / chemistry
  • DNA / metabolism
  • Gene Regulatory Networks*
  • Male
  • Mice
  • Mice, Inbred C57BL
  • Organelle Biogenesis
  • Peroxisome Proliferator-Activated Receptor Gamma Coactivator 1-alpha / chemistry
  • Peroxisome Proliferator-Activated Receptor Gamma Coactivator 1-alpha / genetics
  • Peroxisome Proliferator-Activated Receptor Gamma Coactivator 1-alpha / metabolism*
  • Protein Isoforms / chemistry
  • Protein Isoforms / genetics
  • Protein Isoforms / metabolism*
  • Thermogenesis / genetics
  • Transcriptional Activation
  • Transcriptome


  • Chromatin
  • Peroxisome Proliferator-Activated Receptor Gamma Coactivator 1-alpha
  • Ppargc1a protein, mouse
  • Protein Isoforms
  • DNA