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J Cell Biol. 2011 Jan 10;192(1):55-67. doi: 10.1083/jcb.201004026.

Homeostatic levels of SRC-2 and SRC-3 promote early human adipogenesis.

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Molecular and Cellular Biology, Baylor College of Medicine, Houston, TX 77030, USA.


The related coactivators SRC-2 and SRC-3 interact with peroxisome proliferator activated receptor γ (PPARγ) to coordinate transcriptional circuits to promote adipogenesis. To identify potential coactivator redundancy during human adipogenesis at single cell resolution, we used high content analysis to quantify links between PPARγ, SRC-2, SRC-3, and lipogenesis. Because we detected robust increases and significant cell-cell heterogeneity in PPARγ and lipogenesis, without changes in SRC-2 or SRC-3, we hypothesized that permissive coregulator levels comprise a necessary adipogenic equilibrium. We probed this equilibrium by down-regulating SRC-2 and SRC-3 while simultaneously quantifying PPARγ. Individual or joint knockdown equally inhibits lipid accumulation by preventing lipogenic gene engagement, without affecting PPARγ protein levels. Supporting dominant, pro-adipogenic roles for SRC-2 and SRC-3, SRC-1 knockdown does not affect adipogenesis. SRC-2 and SRC-3 knockdown increases the proportion of cells in a PPARγ(hi)/lipid(lo) state while increasing phospho-PPARγ-S114, an inhibitor of PPARγ transcriptional activity and adipogenesis. Together, we demonstrate that SRC-2 and SRC-3 concomitantly promote human adipocyte differentiation by attenuating phospho-PPARγ-S114 and modulating PPARγ cellular heterogeneity.

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