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Single cell studies identify coactivator role in fat cell maturation
Date:1/10/2011

HOUSTON - (Jan. 10, 2011) All fat cells are not the same a fact that has implications in the understanding and treatment of type 2 diabetes and obesity, said researchers from Baylor College of Medicine (www.bcm.edu) in a report that appears in the current issue of the Journal of Cell Biology (http://www.jcb.rupress.org/).

The amount of fat in each cell and the central transcription factor, PPAR gamma (peroxisome proliferator activated receptor gamma), can vary widely, but the fat cells (adipocytes) can maintain stable levels of master switches known as steroid receptor coactivators (SRC)-2 and -3, said Dr. Sean M. Hartig, a postdoctoral fellow, and Dr. Michael Mancini (http://www.bcm.edu/mcb/?PMID=9330), an associate professor of molecular and cellular biology at BCM and the director of the Integrated Microscopy Core at BCM (http://www.bcm.edu/microscopy/). Hartig is first author and Mancini senior author of the report.

"The difference was the SRCs," said Hartig. "They control the transcriptional switch for PPAR gamma to maximize fat accumulation."

PPAR gamma is known to regulate the production of adipocytes or fat cells. It regulates transcription making an RNA copy of DNA, which is the first step in gene expression.

"Our research shows that there isn't always a linear connection between this transcriptional regulator PPAR gamma and the lipid in a cell," said Mancini. "It's dogma that one equals the other, but as you dive into the population of cells using high throughput microscopy and with custom-built software 'pipelines,' you find lots of exceptions. Then Sean (Hartig) connected it to the coregulators."

New drug-screening technology that automates both microscopy and image analysis allows experts like Mancini and Hartig to collect pic
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Contact: Dipali Pathak
pathak@bcm.edu
713-798-4710
Baylor College of Medicine
Source:Eurekalert

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