Targeting PLD2 in adipocytes augments adaptive thermogenesis by improving mitochondrial quality and quantity in mice

J Exp Med. 2022 Feb 7;219(2):e20211523. doi: 10.1084/jem.20211523. Epub 2021 Dec 23.


Phospholipase D (PLD)2 via its enzymatic activity regulates cell proliferation and migration and thus is implicated in cancer. However, the role of PLD2 in obesity and type 2 diabetes has not previously been investigated. Here, we show that during diet-induced thermogenesis and obesity, levels of PLD2 but not PLD1 in adipose tissue are inversely related with uncoupling protein 1, a key thermogenic protein. We demonstrate that the thermogenic program in adipose tissue is significantly augmented in mice with adipocyte-specific Pld2 deletion or treated with a PLD2-specific inhibitor and that these mice are resistant to high fat diet-induced obesity, glucose intolerance, and insulin resistance. Mechanistically, we show that Pld2 deletion in adipose tissue or PLD2 pharmacoinhibition acts via p62 to improve mitochondrial quality and quantity in adipocytes. Thus, PLD2 inhibition is an attractive therapeutic approach for obesity and type 2 diabetes by resolving defects in diet-induced thermogenesis.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adipocytes / metabolism*
  • Animals
  • Biomarkers
  • Blood Glucose
  • Diet, High-Fat
  • Energy Metabolism
  • Enzyme Inhibitors / pharmacology
  • Gene Expression Regulation
  • Immunohistochemistry
  • Insulin Resistance
  • Male
  • Mice
  • Mice, Knockout
  • Mitochondria / genetics*
  • Mitochondria / metabolism*
  • Mitochondria / ultrastructure
  • Obesity / etiology
  • Obesity / metabolism
  • Phospholipase D / antagonists & inhibitors
  • Phospholipase D / genetics*
  • Phospholipase D / metabolism
  • Proteasome Endopeptidase Complex / metabolism
  • Thermogenesis / genetics*
  • Uncoupling Protein 1 / genetics
  • Uncoupling Protein 1 / metabolism


  • Biomarkers
  • Blood Glucose
  • Enzyme Inhibitors
  • Uncoupling Protein 1
  • phospholipase D2
  • Phospholipase D
  • Proteasome Endopeptidase Complex