The prevalence of obesity has led to a surge of interest in understanding the detailed mechanisms underlying adipocyte development. Many protein-coding genes, mRNAs, and microRNAs have been implicated in adipocyte development, but the global expression patterns and functional contributions of long noncoding RNA (lncRNA) during adipogenesis have not been explored.
Here a team led by researchers at the Whitehead Institute for Biomedical Research profiled the transcriptome of primary brown and white adipocytes, preadipocytes, and cultured adipocytes and identified 175 lncRNAs that are specifically regulated during adipogenesis. Many lncRNAs are adipose-enriched, strongly induced during adipogenesis, and bound at their promoters by key transcription factors such as peroxisome proliferator-activated receptor γ (PPARγ) and CCAAT/enhancer-binding protein α (CEBPα). RNAi-mediated loss of function screens identified functional lncRNAs with varying impact on adipogenesis. Collectively, they have identified numerous lncRNAs that are functionally required for proper adipogenesis.
- Sun L et al. (2013) Long noncoding RNAs regulate adipogenesis. PNAS USA [Epub ahead of print]. [abstract]