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Mol Cell Biol. 2007 Jun;27(12):4347-54. Epub 2007 Apr 2.

Chibby promotes adipocyte differentiation through inhibition of beta-catenin signaling.

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  • 1SUNY at Stony Brook, Department of Pharmacology, Stony Brook, NY 11794-8651, USA.


The canonical Wnt/beta-catenin signaling pathway plays diverse roles in embryonic development and disease. Activation of this pathway, likely by Wnt-10b, has been shown to inhibit adipogenesis in cultured 3T3-L1 preadipocytes and in mice. Here, we report that the beta-catenin antagonist Chibby (Cby) is required for adipocyte differentiation. Cby is expressed in adipose tissue in mice, and Cby protein levels increase during adipogenic differentiation of 3T3-L1 cells. Ectopic expression of Cby induces spontaneous differentiation of these cells into mature adipocytes to an extent similar to that of dominant-negative Tcf-4. In contrast, depletion of Cby by RNA interference potently blocks adipogenesis of 3T3-L1 and mouse embryonic stem cells. In support of this, embryonic fibroblasts obtained from Cby-deficient embryos display attenuated differentiation to the adipogenic lineage. Mechanistically, Cby promotes adipocyte differentiation, in part by inhibiting beta-catenin, since gain or loss of function of Cby influences beta-catenin signaling in 3T3-L1 cells. Our results therefore establish Cby as a novel proadipogenic factor required for adipocyte differentiation.

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