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Adipose tissue depots are highly heterogeneous with respect to their morphological appearance, molecular architecture, and functional properties in mammals. White adipose tissue (WAT) stores and mobilizes triglycerides, while brown adipose tissue (BAT) is a specialized thermogenic organ that dissipates chemical energy as heat. Brown adipocytes contain numerous small lipid droplets and are exceptionally rich in mitochondria equipped with uncoupling protein 1 (UCP1). UCP1 catalyzes the net transport of protons, collapses the proton motive force, and mediates the acceleration of nutrient combustion to increase heat production. However, our knowledge of Ucp1 expression in cells other than adipocytes and the anatomical distribution of brown and brite adipocytes in mammals remains incomplete. Furthermore, in the search of compounds modulating transcriptional control of Ucp1, a bona fide reporter system is needed.

Wang et al. generated an Ucp1-Luciferase-T2A-iRFP713- T2A knock-in mouse model to report endogenous Ucp1 expression. Both luciferase (LUC) activity and iRFP713 faithfully reflect endogenous Ucp1 expression upon physiological and pharmacological stimulations. Taking advantage of the reporter mouse model, they reveal a sex specific difference in browning propensity, identify a new Ucp1 expressing adipose tissue depot, and, as proof of concept, test molecules with the potential to recruit thermogenic adipocytes. Overall, the Ucp1-LUC-iRFP713 reporter mouse provides a valuable system for monitoring UCP1 both in vivo and in vitro in a rapid, simple and systematic way.

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The 60 Second Metabolist
In this section authors briefly report on their work recently published in Molecular Metabolism.

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Marjoleine F. Broekema
University Medical Centre Utrecht, Utrecht University, Utrecht, The Netherlands
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