Moderate replacement of fish oil with palmitic acid-stimulated mitochondrial fusion promotes β-oxidation by Mfn2 interacting with Cpt1α via its GTPase-domain
The mitochondrial matrix serves as the principal locale for the process of fatty acids (FAs) β-oxidation. Preserving the integrity and homeostasis of mitochondria, which is accomplished through ongoing fusion and fission events, is of paramount importance for the effective execution of FAs β-oxidation. There has been no investigation to date into whether and how mitochondrial fusion directly enhances FAs β-oxidation. The underlying mechanism of a balanced FAs ratio favoring hepatic lipid homeostasis remains largely unclear. To address such gaps, the present study was conducted to investigate the mechanism through which a balanced dietary FAs ratio enhances hepatic FAs β-oxidation. The investigation specifically focused on the involvement of Mfn2-mediated mitochondrial fusion in the regulation of Cpt1α in this process. In the present study, the yellow catfish (Pelteobagrus fulvidraco), recognized as a model organism for lipid metabolism, were subjected to eight weeks of in vivo feeding with six distinct diets featuring varying FAs ratios. Additionally, in vitro experiments were conducted to inhibit Mfn2-mediated mitochondrial fusion in isolated hepatocytes, achieved through the transfection of hepatocytes with si-mfn2. Further, deletion mutants for both Mfn2 and Cpt1α were constructed to elucidate the critical regions responsible for the interactions between these two proteins within the system. The key findings were: (1) Substituting palmitic acid (PA) for fish oil (FO) proved to be enhanced in reducing hepatic lipid accumulation. This beneficial effect was primarily attributed to the activation of mitochondrial FAs β-oxidation; (2) The balanced replacement of PA stimulated Mfn2-mediated mitochondrial fusion by diminishing Mfn2 ubiquitination, thereby enhancing its protein retention within the mitochondria; (3) Mfn2-mediated mitochondrial fusion promoted FAs β-oxidation through direct interaction between Mfn2 and Cpt1α via its GTPase-domains, which is essential for the maintenance of Cpt1 activity. Notably, the present research results unveil a previously undisclosed mechanism wherein Mfn2-mediated mitochondrial fusion promotes FAs β-oxidation by directly augmenting the capacity for FA transport into mitochondria (MT), in addition to expanding the mitochondrial matrix. This underscores the pivotal role of mitochondrial fusion in preserving hepatic lipid homeostasis. The present results further confirm that these mechanisms are evolutionarily conserved, extending their relevance from fish to mammals.
Keywords: Cpt1α; Fatty acids ratio; Mfn2; Mitochondrial fusion; β-oxidation.