The repertoire of Adhesion G protein-coupled receptors in adipocytes and their functional relevance

Int J Obes (Lond). 2020 Oct;44(10):2124-2136. doi: 10.1038/s41366-020-0570-2. Epub 2020 Mar 19.


Background: G protein-coupled receptors (GPCR) are well-characterized regulators of a plethora of physiological functions among them the modulation of adipogenesis and adipocyte function. The class of Adhesion GPCR (aGPCR) and their role in adipose tissue, however, is poorly studied. With respect to the demand for novel targets in obesity treatment, we present a comprehensive study on the expression and function of this enigmatic GPCR class during adipogenesis and in mature adipocytes.

Methods: The expression of all aGPCR representatives was determined by reanalyzing RNA-Seq data and by performing qPCR in different mouse and human adipose tissues under low- and high-fat conditions. The impact of aGPCR expression on adipocyte differentiation and lipid accumulation was studied by siRNA-mediated knockdown of all expressed members of this receptor class. The biological characteristics and function of mature adipocytes lacking selected aGPCR were analyzed by mass spectrometry and biochemical methods (lipolysis, glucose uptake, adiponectin secretion).

Results: More than ten aGPCR are significantly expressed in visceral and subcutaneous adipose tissues and several aGPCR are differentially regulated under high-caloric conditions in human and mouse. Receptor knockdown of six receptors resulted in an impaired adipogenesis indicating their expression is essential for proper adipogenesis. The altered lipid composition was studied in more detail for two representatives, ADGRG2/GPR64 and ADGRG6/GPR126. While GPR126 is mainly involved in adipocyte differentiation, GPR64 has an additional role in mature adipocytes by regulating metabolic processes.

Conclusions: Adhesion GPCR are significantly involved in qualitative and quantitative adipocyte lipid accumulation and can control lipolysis. Factors driving adipocyte formation and function are governed by signaling pathways induced by aGPCR yielding these receptors potential targets for treating obesity.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • 3T3-L1 Cells
  • Adipocytes / physiology*
  • Adipogenesis*
  • Animals
  • Humans
  • Lipid Metabolism
  • Lipolysis
  • Male
  • Mice
  • Mice, Inbred C57BL
  • RNA-Seq
  • Receptors, G-Protein-Coupled / physiology*


  • Receptors, G-Protein-Coupled