Increased adipocyte S-nitrosylation targets anti-lipolytic action of insulin: Relevance to adipose tissue dysfunction in obesity Academic Article uri icon


  • Protein S-nitrosylation is a reversible protein modification implicated in both physiological and pathophysiological regulation of protein function. In obesity, skeletal muscle insulin resistance is associated with increased S-nitrosylation of insulin-signaling proteins. However, whether adipose tissue is similarly affected in obesity and, if so, what are the causes and functional consequences of increased S-nitrosylation in this tissue are unknown. Total protein S-nitrosylation was increased in intra-abdominal adipose tissue of obese humans and in high fat-fed or leptin-deficient ob/ob mice. Both the insulin receptor β-subunit and Akt were S-nitrosylated, correlating with body weight. Elevated protein and mRNA expression of inducible NO synthase and decreased protein levels of thioredoxin reductase were associated with increased adipose tissue S-nitrosylation. Cultured differentiated pre-adipocyte cell lines exposed to the NO donors S-nitrosoglutathione (GSNO) or S-nitroso-N-acetylpenicillamine exhibited diminished insulin-stimulated phosphorylation of Akt but not of GSK3 nor of insulin-stimulated glucose uptake. Yet the anti-lipolytic action of insulin was markedly impaired in both cultured adipocytes and in mice injected with GSNO prior to administration of insulin. In cells, impaired ability of insulin to diminish phosphorylated PKA substrates in response to isoproterenol suggested impaired insulin-induced activation of PDE3B. Consistently, increased S-nitrosylation of PDE3B was detected in adipose tissue of high fat-fed obese mice. Site-directed mutagenesis revealed that Cys-768 and Cys-1040, two putative sites for S-nitrosylation adjacent to the substrate-binding site of PDE3B, accounted for ∼50% of its GSNO-induced S-nitrosylation. Collectively, PDE3B and the anti-lipolytic action of insulin may constitute novel targets for increased S-nitrosylation of adipose tissue in obesity.

publication date

  • January 1, 2011