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Am J Physiol Endocrinol Metab. 2012 Mar 15;302(6):E705-13. doi: 10.1152/ajpendo.00237.2011. Epub 2012 Jan 10.

Overexpression of a short human seipin/BSCL2 isoform in mouse adipose tissue results in mild lipodystrophy.

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School of Biotechnology and Biomolecular Sciences, Univ. of New South Wales, Sydney, Australia.


Berardinelli-Seip congenital lipodystrophy type 2 (BSCL2) is a recessive disorder characterized by an almost complete loss of adipose tissue, insulin resistance, and fatty liver. BSCL2 is caused by loss-of-function mutations in the BSCL2/seipin gene, which encodes seipin. The essential role for seipin in adipogenesis has recently been established both in vitro and in vivo. However, seipin is highly upregulated at later stages of adipocyte development, and its role in mature adipocytes remains to be elucidated. We therefore generated transgenic mice overexpressing a short isoform of human BSCL2 gene (encoding 398 amino acids) using the adipocyte-specific aP2 promoter. The transgenic mice produced ∼150% more seipin than littermate controls in white adipose tissue. Surprisingly, the increased expression of seipin markedly reduced the mass of white adipose tissue and the size of adipocytes and lipid droplets. This may be due in part to elevated lipolysis rates in the transgenic mice. Moreover, there was a nearly 50% increase in the triacylglycerol content of transgenic liver. These results suggest that seipin promotes the differentiation of preadipocytes but may inhibit lipid storage in mature adipocytes.

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