A novel gene, fad49, plays a crucial role in the immediate early stage of adipocyte differentiation via involvement in mitotic clonal expansion

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Adipogenesis is accomplished via a complex series of steps, and the events at the earliest stage remain to be elucidated. To clarify the molecular mechanisms of adipocyte differentiation, we previously isolated 102 genes expressed early in mouse 3T3-L1 preadipocyte cells using a PCR subtraction system. About half of the genes isolated appeared to be unknown. After isolating full-length cDNAs of the unknown genes, one of them, named factor for adipocyte differentiation 49 (fad49), appeared to be a novel gene, as the sequence of this clone showed no identity to known genes. FAD49 contains a phox homology (PX) domain and four Src homology 3 (SH3) domains, suggesting that it may be a novel scaffold protein. We found that the PX domain of FAD49 not only has affinity for phosphoinositides, but also binds to its third SH3 domain. Expression of fad49 was transiently elevated 3 h after differentiation was induced, and diminished 24 h after induction. Induction of the fad49 gene was observed in adipocyte differentiable 3T3-L1 cells, but not in non-adipogenic NIH-3T3 cells. RNAi-mediated knockdown of fad49 significantly impaired adipocyte differentiation. Moreover, the knockdown of fad49 by RNAi inhibited mitotic clonal expansion, and reduced the expression of CCAAT/enhancer-binding protein β (C/EBPβ) and C/EBPδ at the immediate early phase. Taken together, these results show that fad49, a novel gene, plays a crucial role in the immediate early stage of adipogenesis.

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