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J Biol Chem. 2005 Sep 23;280(38):32883-9. Epub 2005 Jul 27.

Alternatively spliced lipin isoforms exhibit distinct expression pattern, subcellular localization, and role in adipogenesis.

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  • 1Department of Medicine, David Geffen School of Medicine at the University of California, Los Angeles, California 90095, USA.


We recently identified mutations in the Lpin1 (lipin) gene to be responsible for lipodystrophy in the fatty liver dystrophy (fld) mouse strain. Previous studies revealed that lipin plays a critical role in adipogenesis, explaining the adipose-deficient phenotype of the fld mouse. In the current study, we demonstrate that alternative mRNA splicing generates two lipin isoforms, lipin-alpha and lipin-beta, which are differentially expressed during adipocyte differentiation. Lipin-alpha expression peaks at day 2 of 3T3-L1 cell differentiation, after which its levels gradually decrease. In contrast, lipin-beta expression is transiently elevated at 10 h, followed by a drop to background levels at 20 h and a gradual increase between days 2 and 6 of differentiation. The two lipin isoforms also exhibit differences in subcellular localization. Lipin-alpha is predominantly nuclear, whereas lipin-beta is primarily located in the cytoplasm of 3T3-L1 adipocytes, suggesting distinct cellular functions. Using primary mouse embryonic fibroblasts expressing either lipin-alpha or lipin-beta, we demonstrate functional differences between the two isoforms. Whereas lipin-alpha is required for adipocyte differentiation, the predominant effect of lipin-beta expression is the induction of lipogenic genes. In vivo, overexpression of lipin-beta specifically in mature adipocytes leads to elevated expression of lipogenic genes and adipocyte hypertrophy, confirming a role of lipin-beta in the regulation of lipogenesis. In conclusion, our data suggest that the two lipin isoforms have distinct, but complementary, functions in adipogenesis, with lipin-alpha playing a primary role in differentiation and lipin-beta being predominantly involved in lipogenesis.

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