Lipolysis drives expression of the constitutively active receptor GPR3 to induce adipose thermogenesis

Olivia Sveidahl Johansen, Tao Ma, Jakob Bondo Hansen, Lasse Kruse Markussen, Renate Schreiber, Laia Reverte-salisa, Hua Dong, Dan Ploug Christensen, Wenfei Sun, Thorsten Gnad, Iuliia Karavaeva, Thomas Svava Nielsen, Sander Kooijman, Cheryl Cero, Oksana Dmytriyeva, Yachen Shen, Maria Razzoli, Shannon L. O’brien, Eline N. Kuipers, Carsten Haagen NielsenWilliam Orchard, Nienke Willemsen, Naja Zenius Jespersen, Morten Lundh, Elahu Gosney Sustarsic, Cecilie Mørch Hallgren, Mikkel Frost, Seth Mcgonigle, Marie Sophie Isidor, Christa Broholm, Oluf Pedersen, Jacob Bo Hansen, Niels Grarup, Torben Hansen, Andreas Kjær, James G. Granneman, M. Madan Babu, Davide Calebiro, Søren Nielsen, Mikael Rydén, Raymond Soccio, Patrick C.n. Rensen, Jonas Thue Treebak, Thue Walter Schwartz, Brice Emanuelli, Alessandro Bartolomucci, Alexander Pfeifer, Rudolf Zechner, Camilla Scheele, Susanne Mandrup, Zachary Gerhart-hines

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Thermogenic adipocytes possess a therapeutically appealing, energy-expending capacity, which is canonically cold-induced by ligand-dependent activation of β-adrenergic G protein-coupled receptors (GPCRs). Here, we uncover an alternate paradigm of GPCR-mediated adipose thermogenesis through the constitutively active receptor, GPR3. We show that the N terminus of GPR3 confers intrinsic signaling activity, resulting in continuous Gs-coupling and cAMP production without an exogenous ligand. Thus, transcriptional induction of Gpr3 represents the regulatory parallel to ligand-binding of conventional GPCRs. Consequently, increasing Gpr3 expression in thermogenic adipocytes is alone sufficient to drive energy expenditure and counteract metabolic disease in mice. Gpr3 transcription is cold-stimulated by a lipolytic signal, and dietary fat potentiates GPR3-dependent thermogenesis to amplify the response to caloric excess. Moreover, we find GPR3 to be an essential, adrenergic-independent regulator of human brown adipocytes. Taken together, our findings reveal a noncanonical mechanism of GPCR control and thermogenic activation through the lipolysis-induced expression of constitutively active GPR3.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)3502-3518.e33
Number of pages51
Issue number13
Publication statusPublished - 24 Jun 2021

Bibliographical note

Copyright © 2021 The Author(s). Published by Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.


  • G protein-coupled receptor
  • GPCR
  • GPR3
  • adrenergic receptor
  • brown adipose tissue
  • constitutively active
  • energy expenditure
  • lipolysis
  • thermogenesis
  • transcription

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biochemistry, Genetics and Molecular Biology(all)


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