Adipocytes are highly specialized cells which play a central role in lipid homeostasis and the maintenance of energy balance in vertebrate organisms. These cells store energy in the form of triglycerides during periods of nutritional abundance and release it in the form of free fatty acids at times of nutritional deprivation. Pathological conditions associated with altered adipocyte cell number or function include obesity and several lipodystrophy syndromes. Obesity, an excessive accumulation of adipose tissue, is a common disorder which affects over 30 percent of Americans. In humans, obesity is an independent risk factor for non-insulin dependent diabetes mellitus (NIDDM), hypertension, and coronary artery disease and is a major contributor to morbidity and mortality. Recent studies suggest that obesity and its related disorders may be linked to a breakdown in the regulatory mechanisms which control the expression of metabolic genes in adipocytes. Significant advances toward an understanding of these regulatory processes have been made by the identification of transcription factors which regulate adipocyte differentiation and gene expression. To date, members of two transcription factor families, C/EBP (C/AAAT Enhancer Binding Proteins) and PPAR (Peroxisome Proliferator Activated Receptors) have been shown to be induced during adipocyte differentiation and play a critical role in the regulation of fat-specific genes. Our recent investigations have demonstrated that an additional family of transcription factors are induced during adipocyte differentiation. The STATs (Signal Transducers and Activators of Transcription) comprise a family of transcription factors which reside in the cytoplasm of resting cells. Unlike either C/EBPs or PPARs, STATs can be rapidly activated to control gene expression. In a manner equivalent to both C/EBPalpha and PPARgamma, expression of three STAT family members correlates with lipid accumulation. Since STAT family members have unique tissue distributions and are highly expressed in adipocytes, we hypothesize that STATs play a key role in the regulation of adipocyte gene expression. To test this hypothesis, we will examine the regulation and activation of STATs in adipocytes. We have also designed a set of experiments to elucidate the function of these proteins in adipocytes. These studies may lead to insights into the molecular mechanisms regulating energy homeostasis and may have a profound impact on the defects underlying obesity and NIDDM.

National Institute of Health (NIH)
National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases (NIDDK)
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Nutrition Study Section (NTN)
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Haft, Carol R
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Louisiana State University A&M Col Baton Rouge
Schools of Arts and Sciences
Baton Rouge
United States
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Stephens, Jacqueline M; Bailey, Jennifer L; Hang, Hardy et al. (2018) Adipose Tissue Dysfunction Occurs Independently of Obesity in Adipocyte-Specific Oncostatin Receptor Knockout Mice. Obesity (Silver Spring) 26:1439-1447
Able, Ashley Ann; Richard, Allison J; Stephens, Jm (2018) Loss of DBC1 (CCAR2) affects TNF?-induced lipolysis and Glut4 gene expression in murine adipocytes. J Mol Endocrinol 61:195-205
Richard, Allison J; Hang, Hardy; Stephens, Jacqueline M (2017) Pyruvate dehydrogenase complex (PDC) subunits moonlight as interaction partners of phosphorylated STAT5 in adipocytes and adipose tissue. J Biol Chem 292:19733-19742
Nam, Heesun; Ferguson, Bradley S; Stephens, Jacqueline M et al. (2016) Modulation of IL-27 in adipocytes during inflammatory stress. Obesity (Silver Spring) 24:157-66
Ferguson, Bradley S; Nam, Heesun; Stephens, Jacqueline M et al. (2016) Mitogen-Dependent Regulation of DUSP1 Governs ERK and p38 Signaling During Early 3T3-L1 Adipocyte Differentiation. J Cell Physiol 231:1562-74
White, Ursula A; Maier, Joel; Zhao, Peng et al. (2016) The modulation of adiponectin by STAT5-activating hormones. Am J Physiol Endocrinol Metab 310:E129-36
Elks, Carrie M; Zhao, Peng; Grant, Ryan W et al. (2016) Loss of Oncostatin M Signaling in Adipocytes Induces Insulin Resistance and Adipose Tissue Inflammation in Vivo. J Biol Chem 291:17066-76
Sanchez-Infantes, David; White, Ursula A; Elks, Carrie M et al. (2014) Oncostatin m is produced in adipose tissue and is regulated in conditions of obesity and type 2 diabetes. J Clin Endocrinol Metab 99:E217-25
Richard, Allison J; Stephens, Jacqueline M (2014) The role of JAK-STAT signaling in adipose tissue function. Biochim Biophys Acta 1842:431-9
Zhao, Peng; Elks, Carrie M; Stephens, Jacqueline M (2014) The induction of lipocalin-2 protein expression in vivo and in vitro. J Biol Chem 289:5960-9

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