Viperin is an interferon (IFN)-inducible multifunctional protein. Recent evidence from high-throughput analyses indicates that most IFN-inducible proteins, including viperin, are intrinsically expressed in specific tissues; however, the respective intrinsic functions are unknown. Here we show that the intrinsic expression of viperin regulates adipose tissue thermogenesis, which is known to counter metabolic disease and contribute to the febrile response to pathogen invasion. Viperin knockout mice exhibit increased heat production, resulting in a reduction of fat mass, improvement of high-fat diet (HFD)-induced glucose tolerance, and enhancement of cold tolerance. These thermogenic phenotypes are attributed to an adipocyte-autonomous mechanism that regulates fatty acid β-oxidation. Under an HFD, viperin expression is increased, and its function is enhanced. Our findings reveal the intrinsic function of viperin as a novel mechanism regulating thermogenesis in adipose tissues, suggesting that viperin represents a molecular target for thermoregulation in clinical contexts.
metabolism, fatty acid β-oxidation, innate immunity, viperin, thermogenesis