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Fibrillin-1 is a major component of the extracellular microfibrils, where it interacts with other extracellular matrix proteins to provide elasticity to connective tissues, and regulates the bioavailability of TGFβ family members. A peptide consisting of the C-terminal 140 amino acids of fibrillin-1 has recently been identified as a glucogenic hormone, secreted from adipose tissue during fasting and targeting the liver to release glucose. This fragment, called asprosin, also signals in the hypothalamus to stimulate appetite. Asprosin levels are correlated with many of the pathologies indicative of metabolic syndrome, including insulin resistance and obesity. Previous studies and reviews have addressed the therapeutic potential of asprosin as a target in obesity, diabetes and related conditions without considering mechanisms underlying the relationship between generation of asprosin and expression of the much larger fibrillin-1 protein. Profibrillin-1 undergoes obligatory cleavage at the cell surface as part of its assembly into microfibrils, producing the asprosin peptide as well as mature fibrillin-1. Patterns of FBN1 mRNA expression are inconsistent with the necessity for regulated release of asprosin. The asprosin peptide may be protected from degradation in adipose tissue. We present evidence for an alternative possibility, that asprosin mRNA is generated independently from an internal promoter within the 3' end of the FBN1 gene, which would allow for regulation independent of fibrillin-synthesis and is more economical of cellular resources. The discovery of asprosin opened exciting possibilities for treatment of metabolic syndrome related conditions, but there is much to be understood before such therapies could be introduced into the clinic.

Original publication




Journal article


Mol Genet Metab

Publication Date





Asprosin, Fibrillin-1, Fibrillinopathies, Marfan syndrome, Metabolic syndrome