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Overexpression of sterol regulatory element-binding protein-1a in mouse adipose tissue produces adipocyte hypertrophy, increased fatty acid secretion, and fatty liver.

Sterol regulatory element-binding proteins (SREBPs) are a family of membrane-bound transcription factors that regulate cholesterol and fatty acid homeostasis. In mammals, three SREBP isoforms designated SREBP-1a, SREBP-1c, and SREBP-2 have been identified. SREBP-1a and SREBP-1c are derived from the same gene by virtue of alternatively spliced first exons. SREBP-1a has a longer transcriptional activation domain and is a more potent transcriptional activator than SREBP-1c in cultured cells and liver. Here, we describe the physiologic consequences of overexpressing the nuclear form of SREBP-1a (nSREBP-1a) in adipocytes of mice using the adipocyte-specific aP2 promoter (aP2-nSREBP-1a). The transgenic aP2-nSREBP-1a mice developed markedly enlarged white and brown adipocytes that were fully differentiated. Adipocytes isolated from aP2-nSREBP-1a mice had significantly increased rates of fatty acid synthesis and enhanced fatty acid secretion. The increased production and release of fatty acids from adipocytes led, in turn, to a fatty liver. Overexpression of the alternative SREBP-1 isoform, nSREBP-1c, in adipose tissue inhibits adipocyte differentiation; as a result, the transgenic nSREBP-1c mice develop a syndrome resembling human lipodystrophy, which includes a loss of peripheral white adipose tissue, diabetes, and fatty livers (Shimomura, I., Hammer, R. E., Richardson, J. A., Ikemoto, S., Bashmakov, Y., Goldstein, J. L., and Brown, M. S. (1998) Genes Dev. 12, 3182-3194). In striking contrast, nSREBP-1a overexpression in fat resulted in the hypertrophy of fully differentiated adipocytes, no diabetes, and mild hepatic steatosis. These results suggest that nSREBP-1a and nSREBP-1c have distinct roles in adipocyte fat metabolism in vivo.

Pubmed ID: 12855691


  • Horton JD
  • Shimomura I
  • Ikemoto S
  • Bashmakov Y
  • Hammer RE


The Journal of biological chemistry

Publication Data

September 19, 2003

Associated Grants

  • Agency: NHLBI NIH HHS, Id: HL-20948

Mesh Terms

  • Adipocytes
  • Adipose Tissue
  • Animals
  • CCAAT-Enhancer-Binding Proteins
  • Cell Differentiation
  • Cell Nucleus
  • DNA-Binding Proteins
  • Electrophoresis, Polyacrylamide Gel
  • Exons
  • Fatty Acids
  • Fatty Liver
  • Humans
  • Hypertrophy
  • Immunoblotting
  • Lipid Metabolism
  • Liver
  • Mice
  • Mice, Knockout
  • Mice, Transgenic
  • Phenotype
  • Promoter Regions, Genetic
  • Protein Isoforms
  • Protein Structure, Tertiary
  • RNA
  • RNA, Messenger
  • Ribonucleases
  • Sterol Regulatory Element Binding Protein 1
  • Transcription Factors
  • Transcription, Genetic
  • Transcriptional Activation
  • Transgenes