Purdue University Graduate School
PJA Dissertation.pdf (2.09 MB)

Developmental signaling pathways in adult energy homeostasis

Download (2.09 MB)
posted on 2021-08-06, 12:48 authored by Patrick Joseph AntonellisPatrick Joseph Antonellis
Many signaling pathways which are classically understood for their roles in early development are also known to be involved in tissue maintenance and adult energy homeostasis. Furthermore, dysfunction of these signaling pathways results in human diseases such as cancer. An in depth understanding of how developmentally important signaling pathways function in the adult will provide mechanistic insights into disease and potential new therapeutic targets. Herein Chapter 1, the Wnt, fibroblast growth factor (FGF), and Hedgehog (Hh) signaling pathways are discussed and examples of their relevance in development, adult homeostasis, and disease are provided. Wnt signaling provides an example of this concept as it has well described roles during both development and adult metabolism.

Work included in Chapter 2, investigates the regulation of adult energy homeostasis by a member of the endocrine FGF family, FGF19. The three endocrine FGFs, FGF19 (FGF15 in mice), FGF21, and FGF23 have well described roles in the regulation of metabolic processes in adults. While FGF23 is primarily involved in the regulation of phosphate and vitamin D homeostasis,FGF19 and FGF21 have shown similar pharmacological effects on whole body metabolism. Here, the importance of adaptive thermogenesis for the pharmacological action of FGF19 is explored. UsingUCP1KO animals we show that whole-body thermogenesis is dispensable for body weight loss following FGF19 treatment.

Finally, the potential involvement of Hh signaling in mediating the hyperphagia driven obesity observed in certain ciliopathies is explored in Chapter 3. Emerging evidence suggests cilia play an important role in the regulation of feeding behavior. In mammals, the hedgehog pathway is dependent on the primary cilium as an organizing center and defects in hedgehog signaling share some clinical symptoms of ciliopathies. Here, we characterized the expression of core pathway components in the adult hypothalamus. We show that neurons within specific nuclei important for regulation of feeding behavior express Hh ligand and members of its signaling pathway. We also demonstrate that the Hh pathway is transcriptionally upregulated in response to an overnight fast. This work provides an important foundation for understanding the functional role of Hh signaling in regulation of energy homeostasis. In its entirety, this work highlights the emerging clinical relevance of developmentally critical pathways in diseases associated with dysfunction of adult tissue homeostasis, such as obesity.


Degree Type

  • Doctor of Philosophy


  • Biological Sciences

Campus location

  • Indianapolis

Advisor/Supervisor/Committee Chair

Nicolas Berbari

Additional Committee Member 2

A.J. Baucum

Additional Committee Member 3

Benjamin Perrin

Additional Committee Member 4

Andrew Adams

Usage metrics



    Ref. manager