Wang, Y., Fälting, J.M., Mattsson, C.L., Holmström, T.E., & Nedergaard, J. (2013). In brown adipocytes, adrenergically induced β1-/β3-(Gs)-, α2-(Gi)- and α1-(Gq)-signalling to Erk1/2 activation is not mediated via EGF receptor transactivation. Exp Cell Res. (E-pud ahead of print)


Brown adipose tissue is unusual in that the neurotransmitter norepinephrine influences cell destiny in ways generally associated with effects of classical growth factors: regulation of cell proliferation, of apoptosis, and progression of differentiation. The norepinephrine effects are mediated through G-protein-coupled receptors; further mediation of such stimulation to e.g. Erk1/2 activation is in general cell biology accepted to occur through transactivation of the EGF receptor (by external or internal pathways). We have examined here the significance of such transactivation in brown adipocytes. Stimulation of mature brown adipocytes with cirazoline (α1-adrenoceptor coupled via Gq), clonidine (α2 via Gi) or CL316243 (β3 via Gs) or via β1-receptors significantly activated Erk1/2. Pretreatment with the EGF receptor kinase inhibitor AG1478 had, remarkably, no significant effect on Erk1/2 activation induced by any of these adrenergic agonists (although it fully abolished EGF-induced Erk1/2 activation), demonstrating absence of transactivation. Results with brown preadipocytes (cells in more proliferative states) were not qualitatively different. Joint stimulation of all adrenoceptors with norepinephrine did not result in synergism on Erk1/2 activation. AG1478 action on EGF-stimulated Erk1/2 phosphorylation showed a sharp concentration-response relationship (IC50 0.3µM); a minor apparent effect of AG1478 on norepinephrine-stimulated Erk1/2 phosphorylation showed nonspecific kinetics, implying caution in interpretation of partial effects of AG1478 as reported in other systems. Transactivation of the EGF receptor is clearly not a universal prerequisite for coupling of G-protein coupled receptors to Erk1/2 signalling cascades.