Ph.D. University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center at Dallas
Expression of mitochondrial proton transporter uncoupling protein 1 (UCP1) in brown adipose tissue (BAT) is essential for mammalian thermogenesis. While human UCP1 mRNA exists in a long form only, alternative polyadenylation creates two different isoforms in mice with 10% of UCP1 mRNA found in the long form (Ucp1L) and ~90% in the short form (Ucp1S). We generated a mouse model expressing only Ucp1S and found that it showed impaired thermogenesis due to a 60% drop in UCP1 protein levels, suggesting that Ucp1L is more efficiently translated than Ucp1S. In addition, we found that β3 adrenergic receptor signaling promoted the translation of mouse Ucp1L and human Ucp1 in a manner dependent on cytoplasmic polyadenylation element binding protein 2 (CPEB2). CPEB2‐knockout mice showed reduced UCP1 levels and impaired thermogenesis in BAT, which was rescued by ectopic expression of CPEB2. Hence, long 3′‐UTR Ucp1 mRNA translation activated by CPEB2 is likely conserved and important in humans to produce UCP1 for thermogenesis.