Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Long noncoding RNAs control development of fat cells

Date:
February 13, 2013
Source:
Whitehead Institute for Biomedical Research
Summary:
Researchers report that 10 long noncoding RNAs (lncRNAs) play a vital role in the regulation of white fat cells. When each of these lncRNAs is individually knocked down, fat precursor cells fail to mature into white fat cells and have significantly reduced lipid droplets compared with white fat cells with unmodified lncRNA function.

Whitehead Institute researchers have identified a previously unrecognized layer of genetic regulation that is necessary for the generation of undesirable white fat cells. When this regulation is disrupted, white fat cells are unable to accumulate lipid droplets or mature from their precursors.

Related Articles


"We're trying to figure out what the mechanism is -- what it takes to make fat cells," says Whitehead Founding Member Harvey Lodish, who is also a professor of biology and a professor of bioengineering at MIT. "The obvious reason we're interested in this is because a lot of people have too many of them."

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, obesity -- having a body mass index (BMI) of 30 or higher -- is a serious healthcare and economic problem in the United States. More than one-third of American adults are obese, a condition that can lead to heart disease, type 2 diabetes, and stroke. In 2008 obesity-related issues were estimated to cost $147 billion.

All of these problems are caused by an overabundance of white fat cells -- adipose tissue cells that store excess energy as fat or lipid droplets. Unlike white fat cells, brown fat cells, which are most prevalent in babies and have a reduced presence in adults, use lipids as fuel to maintain a stable, warm body temperature. Understanding how both types of fat cells are formed and maintained may one day lead to anti-obesity therapies.

In the quest to understand fat-cell generation and maintenance, the Lodish lab scanned mouse fat cells to determine which of the cells' long noncoding RNAs (lncRNAs) are active. Of the 175 identified, 10 lncRNAs were found to play significant roles in these cells.

Residing within what was once dubbed "junk DNA," lncRNAs have recently gained fame as important gene expression regulators that modify chromatin, enhance transcription, and promote messenger RNA (mRNA) degradation, as well as through other methods that have yet to be elucidated. Recently, the Lodish lab identified lncRNAs as playing a vital role in regulating programmed cell death during one of the final stages of red blood cell differentiation.

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."

This research was supported by National Institutes of Health (DK047618, DK068348, 5P01HL066105, and 1DP2OD00667), National Science Foundation, Damon Runyon Cancer Research Foundation, Agency of Science, Technology and Research, Singapore, Searle Scholars Program, Smith Family Awards Program, and Merkin Family Foundation.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by Whitehead Institute for Biomedical Research. The original article was written by Nicole Giese Rura. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Journal Reference:

  1. L. Sun, L. A. Goff, C. Trapnell, R. Alexander, K. A. Lo, E. Hacisuleyman, M. Sauvageau, B. Tazon-Vega, D. R. Kelley, D. G. Hendrickson, B. Yuan, M. Kellis, H. F. Lodish, J. L. Rinn. Long noncoding RNAs regulate adipogenesis. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, 2013; DOI: 10.1073/pnas.1222643110

Cite This Page:

Whitehead Institute for Biomedical Research. "Long noncoding RNAs control development of fat cells." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 13 February 2013. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2013/02/130213131847.htm>.
Whitehead Institute for Biomedical Research. (2013, February 13). Long noncoding RNAs control development of fat cells. ScienceDaily. Retrieved November 26, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2013/02/130213131847.htm
Whitehead Institute for Biomedical Research. "Long noncoding RNAs control development of fat cells." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2013/02/130213131847.htm (accessed November 26, 2014).

Share This


More From ScienceDaily



More Health & Medicine News

Wednesday, November 26, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

From Popcorn To Vending Snacks: FDA Ups Calorie Count Rules

From Popcorn To Vending Snacks: FDA Ups Calorie Count Rules

Newsy (Nov. 25, 2014) — The US FDA is announcing new calorie rules on Tuesday that will require everywhere from theaters to vending machines to include calorie counts. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Daily Serving Of Yogurt Could Reduce Risk Of Type 2 Diabetes

Daily Serving Of Yogurt Could Reduce Risk Of Type 2 Diabetes

Newsy (Nov. 25, 2014) — Need another reason to eat yogurt every day? Researchers now say it could reduce a person's risk of developing type 2 diabetes. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Madagascar Working to Contain Plague Outbreak

Madagascar Working to Contain Plague Outbreak

AFP (Nov. 24, 2014) — Madagascar said Monday it is trying to contain an outbreak of plague -- similar to the Black Death that swept Medieval Europe -- that has killed 40 people and is spreading to the capital Antananarivo. Duration: 00:42 Video provided by AFP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Are Female Bosses More Likely To Be Depressed?

Are Female Bosses More Likely To Be Depressed?

Newsy (Nov. 24, 2014) — A new study links greater authority with increased depressive symptoms among women in the workplace. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
 
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:  

Breaking News:

Strange & Offbeat Stories

 

Health & Medicine

Mind & Brain

Living & Well

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:  

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile iPhone Android Web
Follow Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins