The increase in adipose tissue mass arises in part from progressive lipid loading and triglyceride accumulation in adipocytes. Enlarged adipocytes produce the highest levels of pro-inflammatory molecules and reactive oxygen species (ROS). Since mitochondria are the site for major metabolic processes (e.g., TCA cycle) that govern the extent of triglyceride accumulation as well as the primary site of ROS generation, we quantitatively investigated changes in the adipocyte mitochondrial proteome during different stages of differentiation and enlargement. Mitochondrial proteins from 3T3-L1 adipocytes at different stages of lipid accumulation (days 0-18) were digested and labeled using the iTRAQ 8-plex kit. The labeled peptides were fractionated using a liquid phase isoelectric fractionation system (MSWIFT) to increase the depth of proteome coverage and analyzed using LC-MS/MS. A total of 631 proteins in the mitochondrial fraction, including endoplasmic reticulum-associated and golgi-related mitochondrial proteins, were identified and classified into 12 functional categories. A total of 123 proteins demonstrated a statistically significant change in expression in at least one of the time points over the course of the experiment. The identified proteins included enzymes and transporters involved in the TCA cycle, fatty acid oxidation, and ATP synthesis. Our results indicate that cultured adipocytes enter a state of metabolic-overdrive where increased flux through the TCA cycle and increased fatty acid oxidation occur simultaneously. The proteomic data also suggest that accumulation of reduced electron carriers and the resultant oxidative stress may be attractive targets for modulating adipocyte function in metabolic disorders.
- adipocyte mitochondrial proteome
- quantitative proteomics
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