To determine the function of the identified active lncRNAs in fat cells, Lei Sun, a former postdoctoral researcher in the Lodish lab, and Loyal Goff from Harvard University and the Broad Institute, knocked each lncRNA down individually in fat precursor cells and analyzed the results. When 10 of these lncRNAs had reduced expression, the cells did not turn on the genes that are usually expressed in mature white fat cells, and the cells had significantly smaller lipid droplets than white fat cells with normal lncRNA expression. Their work is reported in this week's issue of the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences (PNAS).
"This is the first study showing the importance of lncRNAs for the regulation of adipogeneis," says Sun, who is now an assistant professor at Duke-NUS Graduate Medical School. "Our understanding of lncRNA function in these cells is still incomplete, but in the future, this line of research may reveal new pathways that obesity drugs could target."
|Contact: Nicole Rura|
Whitehead Institute for Biomedical Research