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J Biol Chem. 2012 Jan 27;287(5):3485-94. doi: 10.1074/jbc.M111.296681. Epub 2011 Dec 6.

Lipin-1 phosphatidic phosphatase activity modulates phosphatidate levels to promote peroxisome proliferator-activated receptor γ (PPARγ) gene expression during adipogenesis.

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Department of Human Genetics, David Geffen School of Medicine at UCLA, Los Angeles, California 90095, USA.


Adipose tissue plays a key role in metabolic homeostasis. Disruption of the Lpin1 gene encoding lipin-1 causes impaired adipose tissue development and function in rodents. Lipin-1 functions as a phosphatidate phosphatase (PAP) enzyme in the glycerol 3-phosphate pathway for triglyceride storage and as a transcriptional coactivator/corepressor for metabolic nuclear receptors. Previous studies established that lipin-1 is required at an early step in adipocyte differentiation for induction of the adipogenic gene transcription program, including the key regulator peroxisome proliferator-activated receptor γ (PPARγ). Here, we investigate the requirement of lipin-1 PAP versus coactivator function in the establishment of Pparg expression during adipocyte differentiation. We demonstrate that PAP activity supplied by lipin-1, lipin-2, or lipin-3, but not lipin-1 coactivator activity, can rescue Pparg gene expression and lipogenesis during adipogenesis in lipin-1-deficient preadipocytes. In adipose tissue from lipin-1-deficient mice, there is an accumulation of phosphatidate species containing a range of medium chain fatty acids and an activation of the MAPK/extracellular signal-related kinase (ERK) signaling pathway. Phosphatidate inhibits differentiation of cultured adipocytes, and this can be rescued by the expression of lipin-1 PAP activity or by inhibition of ERK signaling. These results emphasize the importance of lipid intermediates as choreographers of gene regulation during adipogenesis, and the results highlight a specific role for lipins as determinants of levels of a phosphatidic acid pool that influences Pparg expression.

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