Hepatic lipid homeostasis is controlled by a coordinated regulation of various metabolic pathways involved in de novo synthesis, uptake, storage, and catabolism of lipids. Disruption of this balance could lead to hepatic steatosis. Peroxisomes play an essential role in lipid metabolism, yet their importance is often overlooked. In a recent study, we demonstrated a role for hepatic peroxisomal β-oxidation in autophagic degradation of lipid droplets. ACOX1 (acyl-Coenzyme A oxidase 1, palmitoyl), the rate-limiting enzyme of peroxisomal β-oxidation, increases with fasting or high-fat diet (HFD). Liver-specific acox1 knockout (acox1-LKO) protects mice from hepatic steatosis induced by starvation or HFD via induction of lipophagy. Mechanistically, we showed that hepatic ACOX1 deficiency decreases the total cytosolic acetyl-CoA levels, which leads to reduced acetylation of RPTOR/RAPTOR, a component of MTORC1, which is a key regulator of macroautophagy/autophagy. These results identify peroxisome-derived acetyl-CoA as a critical metabolic regulator of autophagy that controls hepatic lipid homeostasis.
Keywords: ACOX1; MTORC1; NAFLD; autophagy; lipids; lipophagy; lysosome; peroxisome.