Alternatively spliced MBNL1 isoforms exhibit differential influence on enhancing brown adipogenesis

Ching Sheng Hung, Jung Chun Lin

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

5 Citations (Scopus)


Browning of white adipocytes (WAs) (also referred as beige cells) was demonstrated to execute thermogenesis by consuming stored lipids as do brown adipocytes (BAs), and this is highly related to metabolic homeostasis. Alternative splicing (AS) constitutes a pivotal mechanism for defining cellular fates and functional specifications. Nevertheless, the impacts of AS regulation on the browning of WAs have not been comprehensively investigated. In this study, we first identified the discriminative expression and splicing profiles of the muscleblind-like 1 (MBNL1) gene in postnatal brown adipose tissues (BATs) compared to those of embryonic BATs. A shift in the MBNL1+ex 5 isoform 7 (MBNL17) to MBNL1−ex 5 isoform 1 (MBNL11) was characterized throughout BAT development or during the in vitro browning of pre-WAs, 3T3-L1 cells. The interplay between MBNL1 and the exonic CCUG motif constitutes an autoregulatory mechanism for excluding MBNL1 exon 5. The simultaneous association of RNA-binding motif protein 4a (RBM4a) with exonic and intronic CU elements collaboratively mediates the skipping of MBNL1 exon 5. Overexpressing the MBNL11 isoform exhibited a more-prominent effect than that of the MBNL17 isoform on programming its own transcripts and beige cell-related splicing events in a CCUG motif-mediated manner. In addition to splicing regulation, overexpression of the MBNL11 and MBNL17 isoforms differentially enhanced beige adipogenic signatures of 3T3-L1 cells. Our findings demonstrated that MBNL1 constitutes an emerging and autoregulatory mechanism involved in development of beige cells.

Original languageEnglish
Article number194437
Pages (from-to)194437
JournalBiochimica et Biophysica Acta - Gene Regulatory Mechanisms
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - Jan 2020


  • Alternative splicing
  • Beige adipocyte
  • MBNL1
  • RBM4a

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biophysics
  • Structural Biology
  • Biochemistry
  • Molecular Biology
  • Genetics


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