The role of hypothalamic malonyl-CoA in energy homeostasis

Michael J. Wolfgang, M. Daniel Lane

Research output: Contribution to journalShort surveypeer-review

92 Scopus citations


Energy balance is monitored by hypothalamic neurons that respond to peripheral hormonal and afferent neural signals that sense energy status. Recent physiologic, pharmacologic, and genetic evidence has implicated malonyl-CoA, an intermediate in fatty acid synthesis, as a regulatory component of this energy-sensing system. The level of malonyl-CoA in the hypothalamus is dynamically regulated by fasting and feeding, which alter subsequent feeding behavior. Fatty acid synthase (FAS) inhibitors, administered systemically or intracerebroventricularly to lean or obese mice, increase hypothalamic malonyl-CoA leading to the suppression of food intake. Conversely, lowering malonyl-CoA with an acetyl-CoA carboxylase (ACC) inhibitor or by the ectopic expression of malonyl-CoA decarboxylase in the hypothalamus increases food intake and reverses inhibition by FAS inhibitors. Physiologically, the level of hypothalamic malonyl-CoA appears to be determined through phosphorylation/ dephosphorylation of ACC by AMP kinase in response to changes in the AMP/ATP ratio, an indicator of energy status. Recent evidence suggests that the brain-specific carnitine:palmitoyl-CoA transferase-1 (CPT1c) may be a regulated target of malonyl-CoA that relays the "malonyl-CoA signal" in hypothalamic neurons that express the orexigenic and anorexigenic neuropeptides that regulate food intake and peripheral energy expenditure. Together these findings support a role for malonyl-CoA as an intermediary in the control of energy homeostasis.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)37265-37269
Number of pages5
JournalJournal of Biological Chemistry
Issue number49
StatePublished - Dec 8 2006

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biochemistry
  • Molecular Biology
  • Cell Biology


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