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Cell Metab. 2005 Sep;2(3):165-77.

Changes in integrin expression during adipocyte differentiation.

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Department of Internal Medicine, Life Sciences Institute, University of Michigan Medical Center, Ann Arbor, Michigan 48109, USA.


3T3-L1 preadipocytes require cAMP for maximal differentiation. Microarray analysis reveals that the integrins alpha5 and alpha6 are coordinately regulated by cAMP. alpha5 expression is gradually diminished during adipogenesis, whereas alpha6 is increased. Overexpression of alpha5 in preadipocytes results in enhanced proliferation and attenuated differentiation. Conversely, alpha6 overexpression is without effect. The GTPase Rac is normally inhibited during differentiation. However, overexpression of integrin alpha5 increases Rac activity. Constitutively active but not dominant-negative Rac inhibits differentiation when overexpressed in preadipocytes, implying its role downstream of alpha5 integrin in maintaining preadipocytes in an undifferentiated state. Moreover, alpha6 integrin is critically involved in clustering growth-arrested preadipocytes on basement membrane Matrigel. Perturbation of such clustering enhances Rho activity and promotes growth-arrested preadipocytes to reenter the cell cycle. These findings demonstrate a role for integrin alpha6 in connecting morphogenesis with signaling processes leading to terminal differentiation.

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