Transcription, adipocyte differentiation, and obesity

Differentiation of adipogenic precursor cells into mature adipocytes is a complex phenomenon, characterized by an ordered expression of adipocyte-specific genes, triggered by a set of interacting transcription factors. The most important transcription factors involved in this process are the gamma form of peroxisome proliferator activated receptors (PPAR gamma) and the various members of the CCAAT enhancer binding proteins (alpha, beta, and delta). In addition to PPAR gamma and these enhancer binding proteins, several other transcription factors, including ADD-1 (SRE-BP), HMGI-C, are involved in regulating this process. Altered activity and/or expression of these transcription factors, will induce the expression of target genes in the differentiating cells, ultimately resulting in the phenotypical characteristics of the adipocytes. It is speculated that modulation of these transcription factors by either pharmacological or dietary manipulations might influence adipocyte differentiation and prove beneficial in the prevention and treatment of obesity.


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