CIDEA Transcriptionally Regulates UCP1 for Britening and Thermogenesis in Human Fat Cells

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© 2019 The Author(s) Our study identifies a transcriptional role of cell death-inducing DNA fragmentation factor-like effector A (CIDEA), a lipid-droplet-associated protein, whereby it regulates human adipocyte britening/beiging with consequences for the regulation of energy expenditure. The comprehensive transcriptome analysis revealed CIDEA's control over thermogenic function in brite/beige human adipocytes. In the absence of CIDEA, achieved by the modified dual-RNA-based CRISPR-Cas9nD10A system, adipocytes lost their britening capability, which was recovered upon CIDEA re-expression. Uncoupling protein 1 (UCP1), the most upregulated gene in brite human adipocytes, was suppressed in CIDEA knockout (KO) primary human adipocytes. Mechanistically, during induced britening, CIDEA shuttled from lipid droplets to the nucleus via an unusual nuclear bipartite signal in a concentration-dependent manner. In the nucleus, it specifically inhibited LXRα repression of UCP1 enhancer activity and strengthened PPARγ binding to UCP1 enhancer, hence driving UCP1 transcription. Overall, our study defines the role of CIDEA in increasing thermogenesis in human adipocytes.