Brown adipose tissue (BAT) is rich in mitochondria and plays important roles in energy expenditure, thermogenesis, and glucose homeostasis. We find that levels of mitochondrial protein succinylation and malonylation are high in BAT and subject to physiological and genetic regulation. BAT-specific deletion of Sirt5, a mitochondrial desuccinylase and demalonylase, results in dramatic increases in global protein succinylation and malonylation. Mass spectrometry-based quantification of succinylation reveals that Sirt5 regulates the key thermogenic protein in BAT, UCP1. Mutation of the two succinylated lysines in UCP1 to acyl-mimetic glutamine and glutamic acid significantly decreases its stability and activity. The reduced function of UCP1 and other proteins in Sirt5KO BAT results in impaired mitochondria respiration, defective mitophagy, and metabolic inflexibility. Thus, succinylation of UCP1 and other mitochondrial proteins plays an important role in BAT and in regulation of energy homeostasis.
Keywords: UCP1; brown fat; mitochondria; succinylation; thermogenesis.
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