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Transcriptional control of preadipocyte determination by Zfp423.

The worldwide epidemic of obesity has increased the urgency to develop a deeper understanding of physiological systems related to energy balance and energy storage, including the mechanisms controlling the development of fat cells (adipocytes). The differentiation of committed preadipocytes to adipocytes is controlled by PPARgamma and several other transcription factors, but the molecular basis for preadipocyte determination is not understood. Using a new method for the quantitative analysis of transcriptional components, we identified the zinc-finger protein Zfp423 as a factor enriched in preadipose versus non-preadipose fibroblasts. Ectopic expression of Zfp423 in non-adipogenic NIH 3T3 fibroblasts robustly activates expression of Pparg in undifferentiated cells and permits cells to undergo adipocyte differentiation under permissive conditions. Short hairpin RNA (shRNA)-mediated reduction of Zfp423 expression in 3T3-L1 cells blunts preadipocyte Pparg expression and diminishes the ability of these cells to differentiate. Furthermore, both brown and white adipocyte differentiation is markedly impaired in Zfp423-deficient mouse embryos. Zfp423 regulates Pparg expression, in part, through amplification of the BMP signalling pathway, an effect dependent on the SMAD-binding capacity of Zfp423. This study identifies Zfp423 as a transcriptional regulator of preadipocyte determination.

Pubmed ID: 20200519


  • Gupta RK
  • Arany Z
  • Seale P
  • Mepani RJ
  • Ye L
  • Conroe HM
  • Roby YA
  • Kulaga H
  • Reed RR
  • Spiegelman BM



Publication Data

March 25, 2010

Associated Grants

  • Agency: NIDDK NIH HHS, Id: DK081605
  • Agency: NIDDK NIH HHS, Id: DK31405
  • Agency: NIDDK NIH HHS, Id: F32 DK079507
  • Agency: NIDDK NIH HHS, Id: F32 DK079507-01
  • Agency: NIDDK NIH HHS, Id: F32 DK079507-01
  • Agency: NIDDK NIH HHS, Id: F32 DK079507-02
  • Agency: NHLBI NIH HHS, Id: K08 HL79172-01
  • Agency: NIDDK NIH HHS, Id: K99 DK081605
  • Agency: NIDDK NIH HHS, Id: P30 DK040561
  • Agency: NIDDK NIH HHS, Id: P30 DK040561-14
  • Agency: NIDCD NIH HHS, Id: R01 DC008295
  • Agency: NIDCD NIH HHS, Id: R01 DC008295-04
  • Agency: NIDCD NIH HHS, Id: R01DC008295

Mesh Terms

  • Adipose Tissue
  • Animals
  • Cell Differentiation
  • DNA-Binding Proteins
  • Female
  • Gene Expression Regulation, Developmental
  • Mice
  • Mice, Inbred C57BL
  • Mice, Knockout
  • NIH 3T3 Cells
  • PPAR gamma
  • Protein Structure, Tertiary
  • Smad Proteins
  • Transcription Factors