Talbot, Fleur, Claire H Feetham, Jacek Mokrosiński, Katherine Lawler, Julia M Keogh, Elana Henning, Edson Mendes de Oliveira, et al. (2023) 2023. “A Rare Human Variant That Disrupts GPR10 Signalling Causes Weight Gain in Mice”. Nature Communications 14 (1): 1450.

Disruption of brain-expressed G protein-coupled receptor-10 (GPR10) causes obesity in animals. Here, we identify multiple rare variants in GPR10 in people with severe obesity and in normal weight controls. These variants impair ligand binding and G protein-dependent signalling in cells. Transgenic mice harbouring a loss of function GPR10 variant found in an individual with obesity, gain excessive weight due to decreased energy expenditure rather than increased food intake. This evidence supports a role for GPR10 in human energy homeostasis. Therapeutic targeting of GPR10 may represent an effective weight-loss strategy.

Xu, Yu, Scott C Ritchie, Yujian Liang, Paul R H J Timmers, Maik Pietzner, Loïc Lannelongue, Samuel A Lambert, et al. (2023) 2023. “An Atlas of Genetic Scores to Predict Multi-Omic Traits”. Nature 616 (7955): 123-31.

The use of omic modalities to dissect the molecular underpinnings of common diseases and traits is becoming increasingly common. But multi-omic traits can be genetically predicted, which enables highly cost-effective and powerful analyses for studies that do not have multi-omics1. Here we examine a large cohort (the INTERVAL study2; n = 50,000 participants) with extensive multi-omic data for plasma proteomics (SomaScan, n = 3,175; Olink, n = 4,822), plasma metabolomics (Metabolon HD4, n = 8,153), serum metabolomics (Nightingale, n = 37,359) and whole-blood Illumina RNA sequencing (n = 4,136), and use machine learning to train genetic scores for 17,227 molecular traits, including 10,521 that reach Bonferroni-adjusted significance. We evaluate the performance of genetic scores through external validation across cohorts of individuals of European, Asian and African American ancestries. In addition, we show the utility of these multi-omic genetic scores by quantifying the genetic control of biological pathways and by generating a synthetic multi-omic dataset of the UK Biobank3 to identify disease associations using a phenome-wide scan. We highlight a series of biological insights with regard to genetic mechanisms in metabolism and canonical pathway associations with disease; for example, JAK-STAT signalling and coronary atherosclerosis. Finally, we develop a portal ( ) to facilitate public access to all genetic scores and validation results, as well as to serve as a platform for future extensions and enhancements of multi-omic genetic scores.

Robbins, Jeremy M, Prashant Rao, Shuliang Deng, Michelle J Keyes, Usman A Tahir, Daniel H Katz, Pierre M Jean Beltran, et al. (2023) 2023. “Plasma Proteomic Changes in Response to Exercise Training Are Associated With Cardiorespiratory Fitness Adaptations”. JCI Insight 8 (7).

Regular exercise leads to widespread salutary effects, and there is increasing recognition that exercise-stimulated circulating proteins can impart health benefits. Despite this, limited data exist regarding the plasma proteomic changes that occur in response to regular exercise. Here, we perform large-scale plasma proteomic profiling in 654 healthy human study participants before and after a supervised, 20-week endurance exercise training intervention. We identify hundreds of circulating proteins that are modulated, many of which are known to be secreted. We highlight proteins involved in angiogenesis, iron homeostasis, and the extracellular matrix, many of which are novel, including training-induced increases in fibroblast activation protein (FAP), a membrane-bound and circulating protein relevant in body-composition homeostasis. We relate protein changes to training-induced maximal oxygen uptake adaptations and validate our top findings in an external exercise cohort. Furthermore, we show that FAP is positively associated with survival in 3 separate, population-based cohorts.


Tahir, Usman A, Daniel H Katz, Julian Avila-Pachecho, Alexander G Bick, Akhil Pampana, Jeremy M Robbins, Zhi Yu, et al. (2022) 2022. “Whole Genome Association Study of the Plasma Metabolome Identifies Metabolites Linked to Cardiometabolic Disease in Black Individuals”. Nature Communications 13 (1): 4923.

Integrating genetic information with metabolomics has provided new insights into genes affecting human metabolism. However, gene-metabolite integration has been primarily studied in individuals of European Ancestry, limiting the opportunity to leverage genomic diversity for discovery. In addition, these analyses have principally involved known metabolites, with the majority of the profiled peaks left unannotated. Here, we perform a whole genome association study of 2,291 metabolite peaks (known and unknown features) in 2,466 Black individuals from the Jackson Heart Study. We identify 519 locus-metabolite associations for 427 metabolite peaks and validate our findings in two multi-ethnic cohorts. A significant proportion of these associations are in ancestry specific alleles including findings in APOE, TTR and CD36. We leverage tandem mass spectrometry to annotate unknown metabolites, providing new insight into hereditary diseases including transthyretin amyloidosis and sickle cell disease. Our integrative omics approach leverages genomic diversity to provide novel insights into diverse cardiometabolic diseases.

Camargo, Livia L, Augusto C Montezano, Misbah Hussain, Yu Wang, Zhiguo Zou, Francisco J Rios, Karla B Neves, et al. (2022) 2022. “Central Role of C-Src in NOX5- Mediated Redox Signalling in Vascular Smooth Muscle Cells in Human Hypertension”. Cardiovascular Research 118 (5): 1359-73.

AIMS: NOX-derived reactive oxygen species (ROS) are mediators of signalling pathways implicated in vascular smooth muscle cell (VSMC) dysfunction in hypertension. Among the numerous redox-sensitive kinases important in VSMC regulation is c-Src. However, mechanisms linking NOX/ROS to c-Src are unclear, especially in the context of oxidative stress in hypertension. Here, we investigated the role of NOX-induced oxidative stress in VSMCs in human hypertension focusing on NOX5, and explored c-Src, as a putative intermediate connecting NOX5-ROS to downstream effector targets underlying VSMC dysfunction.

METHODS AND RESULTS: VSMC from arteries from normotensive (NT) and hypertensive (HT) subjects were studied. NOX1,2,4,5 expression, ROS generation, oxidation/phosphorylation of signalling molecules, and actin polymerization and migration were assessed in the absence and presence of NOX5 (melittin) and Src (PP2) inhibitors. NOX5 and p22phox-dependent NOXs (NOX1-4) were down-regulated using NOX5 siRNA and p22phox-siRNA approaches. As proof of concept in intact vessels, vascular function was assessed by myography in transgenic mice expressing human NOX5 in a VSMC-specific manner. In HT VSMCs, NOX5 was up-regulated, with associated oxidative stress, hyperoxidation (c-Src, peroxiredoxin, DJ-1), and hyperphosphorylation (c-Src, PKC, ERK1/2, MLC20) of signalling molecules. NOX5 siRNA reduced ROS generation in NT and HT subjects. NOX5 siRNA, but not p22phox-siRNA, blunted c-Src phosphorylation in HT VSMCs. NOX5 siRNA reduced phosphorylation of MLC20 and FAK in NT and HT. In p22phox- silenced HT VSMCs, Ang II-induced phosphorylation of MLC20 was increased, effects blocked by melittin and PP2. NOX5 and c-Src inhibition attenuated actin polymerization and migration in HT VSMCs. In NOX5 transgenic mice, vascular hypercontractilty was decreased by melittin and PP2.

CONCLUSION: We define NOX5/ROS/c-Src as a novel feedforward signalling network in human VSMCs. Amplification of this system in hypertension contributes to VSMC dysfunction. Dampening the NOX5/ROS/c-Src pathway may ameliorate hypertension-associated vascular injury.

Chow, Lisa S, Robert E Gerszten, Joan M Taylor, Bente K Pedersen, Henriette van Praag, Scott Trappe, Mark A Febbraio, et al. (2022) 2022. “Exerkines in Health, Resilience and Disease”. Nature Reviews. Endocrinology 18 (5): 273-89.

The health benefits of exercise are well-recognized and are observed across multiple organ systems. These beneficial effects enhance overall resilience, healthspan and longevity. The molecular mechanisms that underlie the beneficial effects of exercise, however, remain poorly understood. Since the discovery in 2000 that muscle contraction releases IL-6, the number of exercise-associated signalling molecules that have been identified has multiplied. Exerkines are defined as signalling moieties released in response to acute and/or chronic exercise, which exert their effects through endocrine, paracrine and/or autocrine pathways. A multitude of organs, cells and tissues release these factors, including skeletal muscle (myokines), the heart (cardiokines), liver (hepatokines), white adipose tissue (adipokines), brown adipose tissue (baptokines) and neurons (neurokines). Exerkines have potential roles in improving cardiovascular, metabolic, immune and neurological health. As such, exerkines have potential for the treatment of cardiovascular disease, type 2 diabetes mellitus and obesity, and possibly in the facilitation of healthy ageing. This Review summarizes the importance and current state of exerkine research, prevailing challenges and future directions.

He, Yang, Bas Brouwers, Hesong Liu, Hailan Liu, Katherine Lawler, Edson Mendes de Oliveira, Dong-Kee Lee, et al. (2022) 2022. “Human Loss-of-Function Variants in the Serotonin 2C Receptor Associated With Obesity and Maladaptive Behavior”. Nature Medicine 28 (12): 2537-46.

Serotonin reuptake inhibitors and receptor agonists are used to treat obesity, anxiety and depression. Here we studied the role of the serotonin 2C receptor (5-HT2CR) in weight regulation and behavior. Using exome sequencing of 2,548 people with severe obesity and 1,117 control individuals without obesity, we identified 13 rare variants in the gene encoding 5-HT2CR (HTR2C) in 19 unrelated people (3 males and 16 females). Eleven variants caused a loss of function in HEK293 cells. All people who carried variants had hyperphagia and some degree of maladaptive behavior. Knock-in male mice harboring a human loss-of-function HTR2C variant developed obesity and reduced social exploratory behavior; female mice heterozygous for the same variant showed similar deficits with reduced severity. Using the 5-HT2CR agonist lorcaserin, we found that depolarization of appetite-suppressing proopiomelanocortin neurons was impaired in knock-in mice. In conclusion, we demonstrate that 5-HT2CR is involved in the regulation of human appetite, weight and behavior. Our findings suggest that melanocortin receptor agonists might be effective in treating severe obesity in individuals carrying HTR2C variants. We suggest that HTR2C should be included in diagnostic gene panels for severe childhood-onset obesity.

Chen, Zsu-Zsu, Julian Avila Pacheco, Yan Gao, Shuliang Deng, Bennet Peterson, Xu Shi, Shuning Zheng, et al. (2022) 2022. “Nontargeted and Targeted Metabolomic Profiling Reveals Novel Metabolite Biomarkers of Incident Diabetes in African Americans”. Diabetes 71 (11): 2426-37.

Nontargeted metabolomics methods have increased potential to identify new disease biomarkers, but assessments of the additive information provided in large human cohorts by these less biased techniques are limited. To diversify our knowledge of diabetes-associated metabolites, we leveraged a method that measures 305 targeted or "known" and 2,342 nontargeted or "unknown" compounds in fasting plasma samples from 2,750 participants (315 incident cases) in the Jackson Heart Study (JHS)-a community cohort of self-identified African Americans-who are underrepresented in omics studies. We found 307 unique compounds (82 known) associated with diabetes after adjusting for age and sex at a false discovery rate of <0.05 and 124 compounds (35 known, including 11 not previously associated) after further adjustments for BMI and fasting plasma glucose. Of these, 144 and 68 associations, respectively, replicated in a multiethnic cohort. Among these is an apparently novel isomer of the 1-deoxyceramide Cer(m18:1/24:0) with functional geonomics and high-resolution mass spectrometry. Overall, known and unknown metabolites provided complementary information (median correlation ρ = 0.29), and their inclusion with clinical risk factors improved diabetes prediction modeling. Our findings highlight the importance of including nontargeted metabolomics methods to provide new insights into diabetes development in ethnically diverse cohorts.

Choi, Chan Hee J, William Barr, Samir Zaman, Corey Model, Annsea Park, Mascha Koenen, Zeran Lin, et al. (2022) 2022. “LRG1 Is an Adipokine That Promotes Insulin Sensitivity and Suppresses Inflammation”. ELife 11.

While dysregulation of adipocyte endocrine function plays a central role in obesity and its complications, the vast majority of adipokines remain uncharacterized. We employed bio-orthogonal non-canonical amino acid tagging (BONCAT) and mass spectrometry to comprehensively characterize the secretome of murine visceral and subcutaneous white and interscapular brown adip ocytes. Over 600 proteins were identified, the majority of which showed cell type-specific enrichment. We here describe a metabolic role for leucine-rich α-2 glycoprotein 1 (LRG1) as an obesity-regulated adipokine secreted by mature adipocytes. LRG1 overexpression significantly improved glucose homeostasis in diet-induced and genetically obese mice. This was associated with markedly reduced white adipose tissue macrophage accumulation and systemic inflammation. Mechanistically, we found LRG1 binds cytochrome c in circulation to dampen its pro-inflammatory effect. These data support a new role for LRG1 as an insulin sensitizer with therapeutic potential given its immunomodulatory function at the nexus of obesity, inflammation, and associated pathology.