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Stem Cells Transl Med. 2012 Apr;1(4):309-21. doi: 10.5966/sctm.2011-0010. Epub 2012 Apr 2.

Sp1 transcription factor interaction with accumulated prelamin a impairs adipose lineage differentiation in human mesenchymal stem cells: essential role of sp1 in the integrity of lipid vesicles.

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Stem Cells and Cell Therapy Laboratory, BioCruces, Hospital Universitario Cruces, Barakaldo, Spain.


Lamin A (LMNA)-linked lipodystrophies may be either genetic (associated with LMNA mutations) or acquired (associated with the use of human immunodeficiency virus protease inhibitors [PIs]), and in both cases they share clinical features such as anomalous distribution of body fat or generalized loss of adipose tissue, metabolic alterations, and early cardiovascular complications. Both LMNA-linked lipodystrophies are characterized by the accumulation of the lamin A precursor prelamin A. The pathological mechanism by which prelamin A accumulation induces the lipodystrophy associated phenotypes remains unclear. Since the affected tissues in these disorders are of mesenchymal origin, we have generated an LMNA-linked experimental model using human mesenchymal stem cells treated with a PI, which recapitulates the phenotypes observed in patient biopsies. This model has been demonstrated to be a useful tool to unravel the pathological mechanism of the LMNA-linked lipodystrophies, providing an ideal system to identify potential targets to generate new therapies for drug discovery screening. We report for the first time that impaired adipogenesis is a consequence of the interaction between accumulated prelamin A and Sp1 transcription factor, sequestration of which results in altered extracellular matrix gene expression. In fact, our study shows a novel, essential, and finely tuned role for Sp1 in adipose lineage differentiation in human mesenchymal stem cells. These findings define a new physiological experimental model to elucidate the pathological mechanisms LMNA-linked lipodystrophies, creating new opportunities for research and treatment not only of LMNA-linked lipodystrophies but also of other adipogenesis-associated metabolic diseases.

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