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J Biol Chem. 2002 Aug 16;277(33):29359-62. Epub 2002 Jun 26.

Oligomerization state-dependent activation of NF-kappa B signaling pathway by adipocyte complement-related protein of 30 kDa (Acrp30).

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Whitehead Institute for Biomedical Research, Cambridge, Massachusetts 02142, USA.


Adipocyte complement-related protein of 30 kDa (Acrp30)/adiponectin is an adipocyte-derived hormone that affects lipid and glucose metabolism in muscle and liver, but its physical and biochemical properties are poorly characterized. Here we have used several approaches to show that Acrp30 expressed in and purified from Escherichia coli and human embryonic kidney 293T cells forms trimers and hexamers; 293T cells also produce a higher molecular weight species. Similar Acrp30 oligomers were found in mouse serum as well as in 3T3-L1 adipocyte-conditioned medium, although in different proportions. In parallel, we assessed whether Acrp30 is a signaling molecule by searching for promoter or enhancer elements that respond to Acrp30 or its isolated trimeric globular C-terminal domain, gAcrp30. Acrp30 addition to C2C12 myocytes or myotubes led to activation of NF-kappa B transcription factor in a manner dependent upon phosphorylation and degradation of I kappa B-alpha. Importantly, only hexameric and larger isoforms of Acrp30 activated NF-kappa B; trimeric Acrp30 or gAcrp30 could not activate NF-kappa B. Our data indicate that oligomerization of Acrp30 is important for at least some of its biological activities, and changes in the relative abundance of each oligomeric isoform in plasma may regulate Acrp30 activity.

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