Trehalose is a naturally occurring disaccharide that has gained attention for its ability to induce cellular autophagy and mitigate diseases related to pathological protein aggregation. Despite decades of ubiquitous use as a nutraceutical, preservative, and humectant, its mechanism of action remains elusive. We showed that trehalose inhibitedmembers of the SLC2A (also known asGLUT) family of glucose transporters. Trehalose-mediated inhibition of glucose transport induced AMPK (adenosine 5'-monophosphate- activated protein kinase)-dependent autophagy and regression of hepatic steatosis in vivo and a reduction in the accumulation of lipid droplets in primarymurine hepatocyte cultures. Our data indicated that trehalose triggers beneficial cellular autophagy by inhibiting glucose transport.

Original languageEnglish
Article numberRA21
JournalScience signaling
Issue number416
StatePublished - Feb 23 2016


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