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Available structures
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Aliases FNDC5, FRCP2, irisin, Irisin, fibronectin type III domain containing 5
External IDs MGI: 1917614 HomoloGene: 17812 GeneCards: 252995
Species Human Mouse
RefSeq (mRNA)



RefSeq (protein)



Location (UCSC) Chr 1: 32.86 – 32.87 Mb Chr 4: 129.14 – 129.14 Mb
PubMed search [1] [2]
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Fibronectin type III domain-containing protein 5, the precursor of irisin, is a protein that is encoded by the FNDC5 gene.[1]

Fibronectin domain-containing protein 5 is a membrane protein comprising a short cytoplasmic domain, a transmembrane segment, and an ectodomain consisting of a ~100 kDa fibronectin type III (FNIII) domain. The ectodomain has been proposed to be cleaved to give a soluble peptide hormone named irisin. It has been proposed that irisin is secreted from muscle in response to exercise, and may mediate some beneficial effects of exercise in humans and the potential for generating weight loss and blocking diabetes has been suggested.[2][3][4][5][6][7][8] while others have questioned these findings.[1][9][10][11]


FNDC5 was initially discovered during a genome search for fibronectin type III domains[12] and also independently in a search for peroxisomal proteins.[1][13] Irisin was found to be a cleaved version of FNDC5. The cleaved product has been called irisin, after the Greek messenger goddess Iris.[2]

Biosynthesis and secretion[edit]

The FNDC5 gene encodes a prohormone, a single-pass type I membrane protein (human, 212 amino acids; mouse and rat, 209 amino acids) that is upregulated by muscular exercise and undergoes post-translational processing to generate irisin. The sequence of the protein includes a signal peptide, a single fibronectin type III domain, and a C-terminal hydrophobic domain that is anchored in the cell membrane. The production of irisin is similar to the shedding and release of other hormones and hormone-like polypeptides, such as epidermal growth factor and TGF alpha, from transmembrane precursors. After the N-terminal signal peptide is removed, the peptide is proteolytically cleaved from the C-terminal moiety, glycosylated, and released as a hormone of 112 amino acids (in human, amino acids 32-143 of the full-length protein; in mouse and rat, amino acids 29-140) that comprises most of the FNIII repeat region. The sequence of irisin, the cleaved and secreted portion of FNDC5, is highly conserved in mammals; the human and murine sequences are identical.[2] However, the start codon of human FNDC5 is mutated to ATA, which causes it to be expressed at only 1% the level of other animals with the normal ATG start - though its circulation levels are still on par with other key humanhormones, such as insulin.[14]

A difference in the nucleotide sequence of human FNDC5 from that of mouse Fndc5 creates a different initiation codon, potentially generating a protein that begins at methionine-76 (Met-76). A protein initiated at Met-76 would be missing the signal peptide and would be trapped in the cytoplasm. Via mass spectrometry, irisin has been found to circulate in humans in levels similar to other key hormones, such as insulin.[14]


Exercise causes increased expression in muscle of peroxisome proliferator-activated receptor gamma coactivator 1 alpha (PGC-1alpha), which is involved in adaptation to exercise. In mice, this causes production of the FNDC5 protein which is cleaved to give a new product irisin.[2][5] Due to its production through a mechanism initiated by muscular contraction, irisin has been classified as a myokine.[15]

Based on the findings that FNDC5 induces thermogenin expression in fat cells, overexpression of FNDC5 in the liver of mice prevents diet-induced weight gain, and FNDC5 mRNA levels are elevated in human muscle samples after exercise, it has been proposed that irisin promotes the conversion of white fat to brown fat in humans which would make it a health promoting hormone.[3][4] However this proposal has been challenged[16] since FNDC5 is upregulated only in highly active elderly humans.[9]

In mice, irisin released from skeletal muscle during exercise also acts directly on bone by increasing cortical bone mineral density, bone perimeter and polar moment of inertia.[17][unreliable medical source]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b c Erickson HP (Oct 2013). "Irisin and FNDC5 in retrospect: An exercise hormone or a transmembrane receptor?". Adipocyte 2 (4): 289–293. doi:10.4161/adip.26082. PMC 3774709. PMID 24052909. 
  2. ^ a b c d Boström P, Wu J, Jedrychowski MP, Korde A, Ye L, Lo JC, Rasbach KA, Boström EA, Choi JH, Long JZ, Kajimura S, Zingaretti MC, Vind BF, Tu H, Cinti S, Højlund K, Gygi SP, Spiegelman BM (Jan 2012). "A PGC1-α-dependent myokine that drives brown-fat-like development of white fat and thermogenesis". Nature 481 (7382): 463–468. doi:10.1038/nature10777. PMC 3522098. PMID 22237023. 
  3. ^ a b Courage KH. "Newly Discovered Hormone Boosts Effects of Exercise, Could Help Fend Off Diabetes". Observations. Scientific American. Retrieved January 12, 2012. 
  4. ^ a b Park A (April 8, 2009). "Brown Fat: A Fat That Helps You Lose Weight?". Health & Family (Time Magazine). Retrieved January 12, 2012. 
  5. ^ a b Reynolds G (January 11, 2012). "Exercise Hormone May Fight Obesity and Diabetes". Well (New York Times). Retrieved January 12, 2012. 
  6. ^ Zhang Y, Li R, Meng Y, Li S, Donelan W, Zhao Y, Qi L, Zhang M, Wang X, Cui T, Yang LJ, Tang D (Feb 2014). "Irisin stimulates browning of white adipocytes through mitogen-activated protein kinase p38 MAP kinase and ERK MAP kinase signaling". Diabetes 63 (2): 514–25. doi:10.2337/db13-1106. PMID 24150604. 
  7. ^ Wrann CD, White JP, Salogiannnis J, Laznik-Bogoslavski D, Wu J, Ma D, Lin JD, Greenberg ME, Spiegelman BM (Nov 2013). "Exercise induces hippocampal BDNF through a PGC-1α/FNDC5 pathway". Cell Metabolism 18 (5): 649–59. doi:10.1016/j.cmet.2013.09.008. PMC 3980968. PMID 24120943. 
  8. ^ Wu J, Boström P, Sparks LM, Ye L, Choi JH, Giang AH, Khandekar M, Virtanen KA, Nuutila P, Schaart G, Huang K, Tu H, van Marken Lichtenbelt WD, Hoeks J, Enerbäck S, Schrauwen P, Spiegelman BM (Jul 2012). "Beige adipocytes are a distinct type of thermogenic fat cell in mouse and human". Cell 150 (2): 366–376. doi:10.1016/j.cell.2012.05.016. PMC 3402601. PMID 22796012. 
  9. ^ a b Timmons JA, Baar K, Davidsen PK, Atherton PJ (Aug 2012). "Is irisin a human exercise gene?". Nature 488 (7413): E9–10; discussion E10–1. doi:10.1038/nature11364. PMID 22932392. 
  10. ^ Albrecht E, Norheim F, Thiede B, Holen T, Ohashi T, Schering L, Lee S, Brenmoehl J, Thomas S, Drevon CA, Erickson HP, Maak S (2015). "Irisin - a myth rather than an exercise-inducible myokine". Scientific Reports 5: 8889. doi:10.1038/srep08889. PMID 25749243. 
  11. ^ Raschke S, Elsen M, Gassenhuber H, Sommerfeld M, Schwahn U, Brockmann B, Jung R, Wisløff U, Tjønna AE, Raastad T, Hallén J, Norheim F, Drevon CA, Romacho T, Eckardt K, Eckel J (2013). López-Lluch G, ed. "Evidence against a beneficial effect of irisin in humans". PLOS ONE 8 (9): e73680. doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0073680. PMC 3770677. PMID 24040023. 
  12. ^ Teufel A, Malik N, Mukhopadhyay M, Westphal H (Sep 2002). "Frcp1 and Frcp2, two novel fibronectin type III repeat containing genes". Gene 297 (1-2): 79–83. doi:10.1016/S0378-1119(02)00828-4. PMID 12384288. 
  13. ^ Ferrer-Martínez A, Ruiz-Lozano P, Chien KR (Jun 2002). "Mouse PeP: a novel peroxisomal protein linked to myoblast differentiation and development". Developmental Dynamics 224 (2): 154–167. doi:10.1002/dvdy.10099. PMID 12112469. 
  14. ^ a b Jedrychowski MP, Wrann CD, Paulo JA, Gerber KK, Szpyt J, Robinson MM, Nair KS, Gygi SP, Spiegelman BM (Aug 2015). "Detection and Quantitation of Circulating Human Irisin by Tandem Mass Spectrometry". Cell Metabolism 22: 734–40. doi:10.1016/j.cmet.2015.08.001. PMID 26278051. 
  15. ^ Pedersen BK, Febbraio MA (Oct 2008). "Muscle as an endocrine organ: focus on muscle-derived interleukin-6". Physiological Reviews 88 (4): 1379–406. doi:10.1152/physrev.90100.2007. PMID 18923185. 
  16. ^ Servick K (2015). "Biomedicine. Woes for 'exercise hormone'". Science 347 (6228): 1299. doi:10.1126/science.347.6228.1299. PMID 25792309. 
  17. ^ Colaianni G, Cuscito C, Mongelli T, Pignataro P, Buccoliero C, Liu P, Lu P, Sartini L, Di Comite M, Mori G, Di Benedetto A, Brunetti G, Yuen T, Sun L, Reseland JE, Colucci S, New MI, Zaidi M, Cinti S, Grano M (2015). "The myokine irisin increases cortical bone mass". Proc. Natl. Acad. Sci. U.S.A. 112: 12157–62. doi:10.1073/pnas.1516622112. PMID 26374841.