Sucrose Nonfermenting-Related Kinase Regulates Both Adipose Inflammation and Energy Homeostasis in Mice and Humans

Sucrose nonfermenting-related kinase (SNRK) is a member of the AMPK-related kinase family, and its physiological role in adipose energy homeostasis and inflammation remains unknown. We previously reported that SNRK is ubiquitously and abundantly expressed in both white adipose tissue (WAT) and brown adipose tissue (BAT), but SNRK expression diminishes in adipose tissue in obesity. In this study we report novel experimental findings from both animal models and human genetics. SNRK is essential for survival; SNRK globally deficient pups die within 24 h after birth. Heterozygous mice are characterized by inflamed WAT and less BAT. Adipocyte-specific ablation of SNRK causes inflammation in WAT, ectopic lipid deposition in liver and muscle, and impaired adaptive thermogenesis in BAT. These metabolic disorders subsequently lead to decreased energy expenditure, higher body weight, and insulin resistance. We further confirm the significant association of common variants of the SNRK gene with obesity risk in humans. Through applying a phosphoproteomic approach, we identified eukaryotic elongation factor 1 and histone deacetylase 1/2 as potential SNRK substrates. Taking these data together, we conclude that SNRK represses WAT inflammation and is essential to maintain BAT thermogenesis, making it a novel therapeutic target for treating obesity and associated metabolic disorders.