GDNF-family receptor a-like (GFRAL) has been identified as the cognate receptor of growth/differentiation factor 15 (GDF15/MIC-1), considered a key signaling axis in energy homeostasis and body weight regulation. Currently, little is known about the physiological regulation of the GDF15–GFRAL signaling pathway. Here we show that membrane-bound matrix metalloproteinase 14 (MT1-MMP/MMP14) is an endogenous negative regulator of GFRAL in the context of obesity. Overnutrition-induced obesity increased MT1-MMP activation, which proteolytically inactivated GFRAL to suppress GDF15–GFRAL signaling, thus modulating the anorectic effects of the GDF15–GFRAL axis in vivo. Genetic ablation of MT1-MMP specifically in GFRAL+ neurons restored GFRAL expression, resulting in reduced weight gain, along with decreased food intake in obese mice. Conversely, depletion of GFRAL abolished the anti-obesity effects of MT1-MMP inhibition. MT1-MMP inhibition also potentiated GDF15 activity specifically in obese phenotypes. Our findings identify a negative regulator of GFRAL for the control of non-homeostatic body weight regulation, provide mechanistic insights into the regulation of GDF15 sensitivity, highlight negative regulators of the GDF15–GFRAL pathway as a therapeutic avenue against obesity and identify MT1-MMP as a promising target.
Scopus Subject Areas
- Internal Medicine
- Endocrinology, Diabetes and Metabolism
- Cell Biology
- Physiology (medical)