The adaptor protein alpha-syntrophin regulates adipocyte lipid droplet growth

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The scaffold protein alpha-syntrophin (SNTA) regulates lipolysis indicating a role in lipid homeostasis. Adipocytes are the main lipid storage cells in the body, and here, the function of SNTA has been analyzed in 3T3-L1 cells. SNTA is expressed in preadipocytes and is induced early during adipogenesis. Knock-down of SNTA in preadipocytes increases their proliferation. Proteins which are induced during adipogenesis like adiponectin and caveolin-1, and the inflammatory cytokine IL-6 are at normal levels in the mature cells differentiated from preadipocytes with low SNTA. This suggests that SNTA does neither affect differentiation nor inflammation. Expression of proteins with a role in cholesterol and triglyceride homeostasis is unchanged. Consequently, basal and epinephrine induced lipolysis as well as insulin stimulated phosphorylation of Akt and ERK1/2 are normal. Importantly, adipocytes with low SNTA form smaller lipid droplets and store less triglycerides. Stearoyl-CoA reductase and MnSOD are reduced upon SNTA knock-down but do not contribute to lower lipid levels. Oleate uptake is even increased in cells with SNTA knock-down. In summary, current data show that SNTA is involved in the expansion of lipid droplets independent of adipogenesis. Enhanced preadipocyte proliferation and capacity to store surplus fatty acids may protect adipocytes with low SNTA from lipotoxicity in obesity.

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