Nicotinamide N-methyltransferase knockdown protects against diet-induced obesity. Kraus D, Yang Q, Kong D, Banks AS, Zhang L, Rodgers JT, Pirinen E, Pulinilkunnil TC, Gong F, Wang YC, Cen Y, Sauve AA, Asara JM, Peroni OD, Monia BP, Bhanot S, Alhonen L, Puigserver P, Kahn BB. Nature. 2014 Apr 10;508(7495):258-62.
In obesity and type 2 diabetes, Glut4 glucose transporter expression is decreased selectively in adipocytes1. Adipose-specific knockout or overexpression of Glut4 alters systemic insulin sensitivity2. Here we show, using DNA array analyses, that nicotinamide N-methyltransferase (Nnmt) is the most strongly reciprocally regulated gene when comparing gene expression in white adipose tissue (WAT) from adipose-specific Glut4-knockout or adipose-specific Glut4-overexpressing mice with their respective controls. NNMT methylates nicotinamide (vitamin B3) using S-adenosylmethionine (SAM) as a methyl donor3,4. Nicotinamide is a precursor of NAD+, an important cofactor linking cellular redox states with energy metabolism5. SAM provides propylamine for polyamine biosynthesis and donates a methyl group for histone methylation6. Polyamine flux including synthesis, catabolism and excretion, is controlled by the rate-limiting enzymes ornithine decarboxylase (ODC) and spermidine–spermine N1-acetyltransferase (SSAT; encoded by Sat1) and by polyamine oxidase (PAO), and has a major role in energy metabolism7,8. We report that NNMT expression is increased in WAT and liver of obese and diabetic mice. Nnmtknockdown in WAT and liver protects against diet-induced obesity by augmenting cellular energy expenditure. NNMT inhibition increases adipose SAM and NAD+ levels and upregulates ODC and SSAT activity as well as expression, owing to the effects of NNMT on histone H3 lysine 4 methylation in adipose tissue. Direct evidence for increased polyamine flux resulting from NNMT inhibition includes elevated urinary excretion and adipocyte secretion of diacetylspermine, a product of polyamine metabolism. NNMT inhibition in adipocytes increases oxygen consumption in an ODC-, SSAT- and PAO-dependent manner. Thus, NNMT is a novel regulator of histone methylation, polyamine flux and NAD+-dependent SIRT1 signalling, and is a unique and attractive target for treating obesity and type 2 diabetes.