Brown adipose tissue (BAT) is a metabolically beneficial organ capable of burning fat by dissipating chemical energy into heat, thereby increasing energy expenditure. Moreover, subcutaneous white adipose tissue can undergo so-called browning/beiging. The recent recognition of the presence of brown or beige adipocytes in human adults has attracted much attention to elucidate the molecular mechanism underlying the thermogenic adipose program. Many key transcriptional regulators critical for the thermogenic gene program centering on activating the UCP1 promoter, have been discovered. Thermogenic gene expression in brown adipocytes rely on co-ordinated actions of a multitude of transcription factors, including EBF2, PPARγ, Zfp516 and Zc3h10. These transcription factors probably integrate into a cohesive network for BAT gene program. Moreover, these transcription factors recruit epigenetic factors, such as LSD1 and MLL3/4, for specific histone signatures to establish the favorable chromatin landscape. In this review, we discuss advances made in understanding the molecular mechanism underlying the thermogenic gene program, particularly epigenetic regulation.

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