An ampk-dependent, non-canonical p53 pathway plays a key role in adipocyte metabolic reprogramming

Hong Wang, Xueping Wan, Paul F. Pilch, Leif W. Ellisen, Susan K. Fried, Libin Liu

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

3 Scopus citations


It has been known adipocytes increase p53 expression and activity in obesity, however, only canonical p53 functions (i.e. senescence and apoptosis) are attributed to inflammation-associated metabolic phenotypes. Whether or not p53 is directly involved in mature adipocyte metabolic regulation remains unclear. Here we show p53 protein expression can be up-regulated in adipocytes by nutrient starvation without activating cell senescence, apoptosis, or a death-related p53 canonical pathway. Inducing the loss of p53 in mature adipocytes significantly reprograms energy metabolism and this effect is primarily mediated through a AMP-activated protein kinase (AMPK) pathway and a novel downstream transcriptional target, lysosomal acid lipase (LAL). The pathophysiological relevance is further demonstrated in a conditional and adipocyte-specific p53 knockout mouse model. Overall, these data support a non-canonical p53 function in the regulation of adipocyte energy homeostasis and indicate that the dysregulation of this pathway may be involved in developing metabolic dysfunction in obesity.

Original languageEnglish
Article numbere63665
Pages (from-to)1-23
Number of pages23
StatePublished - Dec 2020


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