Polymerase I and transcript release factor (PTRF) regulates adipocyte differentiation and determines adipose tissue expandability

Sergio Perez-Diaz, Lance A. Johnson, Robert M. DeKroon, Jose M. Moreno-Navarrete, Oscar Alzate, Jose M. Fernandez-Real, Nobuyo Maeda, Jose M. Arbones-Mainar

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

25 Scopus citations


Impaired adipogenesis renders an adipose tissue unable to expand, leading to lipotoxicity and conditions such as diabetes and cardiovascular disease. While factors important for adipogenesis have been studied extensively, those that set the limits of adipose tissue expansion remain undetermined. Feeding a Western-type diet to apolipoprotein E2 knock-in mice, a model of metabolic syndrome, produced 3 groups of equally obese mice: mice with normal glucose tolerance, hyperinsulinemic yet glucose-tolerant mice, and prediabetic mice with impaired glucose tolerance and reduced circulating insulin. Using proteomics, we compared subcutaneous adipose tissues from mice in these groups and found that the expression of PTRF (polymerase I and transcript release factor) associated selectively with their glucose tolerance status. Lentiviral and pharmacologically overexpressed PTRF, whose function is critical for caveola formation, compromised adipocyte differentiation of cultured 3T3-L1cells. In human adipose tissue, PTRF mRNA levels positively correlated with markers of lipolysis and cellular senescence. Furthermore, a negative relationship between telomere length and PTRF mRNA levels was observed in human subcutaneous fat. PTRF is associated with limited adipose tissue expansion underpinning the key role of caveolae in adipocyte regulation. Furthermore, PTRF may be a suitable adipocyte marker for predicting pathological obesity and inform clinical management.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)3769-3779
Number of pages11
JournalFASEB Journal
Issue number8
StatePublished - Aug 2014


  • Glucose intolerance
  • Senescence
  • Telomeres

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biotechnology
  • Biochemistry
  • Molecular Biology
  • Genetics


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