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Inhibiting class I histone deacetylases (HDACs) increases energy expenditure, reduces adiposity and improves insulin sensitivity in obese mice. However, the precise mechanism is poorly understood. Here, we demonstrate that HDAC1 is a negative regulator of brown adipocyte thermogenic program. HDAC1 level is lower in mouse brown fat (BAT) than white fat, is suppressed in mouse BAT during cold exposure or β3-adrenergic stimulation, and is down-regulated during brown adipocyte differentiation. Remarkably, overexpressing HDAC1 profoundly blocks, whereas deleting HDAC1 significantly enhances β-adrenergic activation-induced BAT-specific gene expression in brown adipocytes. β-adrenergic activation in brown adipocytes results in a dissociation of HDAC1 from promoters of BAT-specific genes, including uncoupling protein 1 (UCP1) and peroxisome proliferator-activated receptor γ co-activator 1α (PGC1α), leading to increased acetylation of histone H3 lysine 27 (H3K27), an epigenetic mark of gene activation. This is followed by dissociation of the polycomb repressive complexes, including the H3K27 methyltransferase enhancer of zeste homologue (EZH2), suppressor of zeste 12 (SUZ12), and ring finger protein 2 (RNF2) from, and concomitant recruitment of H3K27 demethylase ubiquitously transcribed tetratricopeptide repeat on chromosome X (UTX) to UCP1 and PGC1α promoters, leading to decreased H3K27 trimethylation, a histone transcriptional repression mark. Thus, HDAC1 negatively regulates brown adipocyte thermogenic program, and inhibiting HDAC1 promotes BAT-specific gene expression through a coordinated control of increased acetylation and decreased methylation of H3K27, thereby switching transcriptional repressive state to active state at the promoters of UCP1 and PGC1α. Targeting HDAC1 may be beneficial in prevention and treatment of obesity by enhancing BAT thermogenesis.


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J Biol Chem. doi:

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This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License.

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