FoxO1 antagonist suppresses autophagy and lipid droplet growth in adipocytes

Longhua Liu, Louise D. Zheng, Peng Zou, Joseph Brooke, Cayleen Smith, Yun Chau Long, Fabio A. Almeida, Dongmin Liu, Zhiyong Cheng

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

42 Scopus citations


ABSTRACT: Obesity and related metabolic disorders constitute one of the most pressing heath concerns worldwide. Increased adiposity is linked to autophagy upregulation in adipose tissues. However, it is unknown how autophagy is upregulated and contributes to aberrant adiposity. Here we show a FoxO1-autophagy-FSP27 axis that regulates adipogenesis and lipid droplet (LD) growth in adipocytes. Adipocyte differentiation was associated with upregulation of autophagy and fat specific protein 27 (FSP27), a key regulator of adipocyte maturation and expansion by promoting LD formation and growth. However, FoxO1 specific inhibitor AS1842856 potently suppressed autophagy, FSP27 expression, and adipocyte differentiation. In terminally differentiated adipocytes, AS1842856 significantly reduced FSP27 level and LD size, which was recapitulated by autophagy inhibitors (bafilomycin-A1 and leupeptin, BL). Similarly, AS1842856 and BL dampened autophagy activity and FSP27 expression in explant cultures of white adipose tissue. To our knowledge, this is the first study addressing FoxO1 in the regulation of adipose autophagy, shedding light on the mechanism of increased autophagy and adiposity in obese individuals. Given that adipogenesis and adipocyte expansion contribute to aberrant adiposity, targeting the FoxO1-autophagy-FSP27 axis may lead to new anti-obesity options.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)2033-2041
Number of pages9
JournalCell Cycle
Issue number15
StatePublished - Aug 2 2016


  • FSP27
  • adipocyte expansion
  • adipogenesis
  • autophagy; FoxO1
  • lipid droplet

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Molecular Biology
  • Developmental Biology
  • Cell Biology


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