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The transcriptional co-activator PGC-1α regulates functional plasticity in adipose tissue by linking sympathetic input to the transcriptional program of adaptive thermogenesis. We report here a novel truncated form of PGC-1α(NT-PGC-1α) produced by alternative 3′ splicing that introduces an in-frame stop codon into PGC-1α mRNA. The expressed protein includes the first 267 amino acids of PGC-1α and 3 additional amino acids from the splicing insert. NT-PGC-1α contains the transactivation and nuclear receptor interaction domains but is missing key domains involved in nuclear localization, interaction with other transcription factors, and protein degradation. Expression and subcellular localization of NT-PGC-1α are dynamically regulated in the context of physiological signals that regulate full-length PGC-1α, but the truncated domain structure conveys unique properties with respect to protein-protein interactions, protein stability, and recruitment to target gene promoters. Therefore, NT-PGC-1α is a co-expressed, previously unrecognized form of PGC-1α with functions that are both unique from and complementary to PGC-1α. © 2009 by The American Society for Biochemistry and Molecular Biology, Inc.

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Journal of Biological Chemistry

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