Obesity and health complications related to obesity, including diabetes, impact a significant proportion of the population in the United States, and projections indicate that the number of obese and overweight individuals will continue to rise in the future. The costs of health care due to the physical and psycho-social problems caused by obesity and related complications, coupled with the associated loss of productivity, is staggering. Improving strategies to induce lifestyle changes among the obese and overweight population is a necessary step toward alleviating this problem, but this approach should be complemented by the development of interventions to control the physiological processes regulating weight gain. Such interventions may include small molecules that modulate regulators of adipose formation and function. Development of such tools will depend upon continued basic research addressing the physiological processes regulating adipogenesis and adipose function. We provide evidence that two enzymes that function as coactivators of adipogenesis, Prmt5 and Jmjd6, drive adipogenesis in a manner that is independent of their catalytic activity. This means that these regulators employ novel and undefined mechanisms to promote adipogenic differentiation. We propose to globally define the functions of these regulators in adipogenesis and to perform structure/function analyses to identify the protein domains that are responsible for the functions that contribute to adipogenesis. The work will address how these regulatory proteins influence both higher-order and local chromatin structure, binding of other regulatory proteins to chromatin, and gene expression. The results of these studies will shed new insight into the regulation of adipogenesis and potentially provide new targets for therapeutic interventions that may be of future use for the treatment of obesity and obesity related disease.

Public Health Relevance

Obesity and related health complications impact a significant proportion of the population in the U.S. While it is necessary to improve strategies that will resut in lifestyle changes among the obese and overweight population, basic research toward understanding the physiological processes regulating weight gain must be continued. Considerable effort has been expended to understand the formation and function of adipose tissue at the molecular level, including identification and characterization of genes and gene products that are critical for adipose development. However, examination of epigenetic control of adipogenic gene expression is a more recent development. Here, we propose a detailed investigation of the mechanisms of action of two novel and apparently atypical epigenetic regulators in the control of adipogenesis and adipose function.

National Institute of Health (NIH)
National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases (NIDDK)
Research Project (R01)
Project #
Application #
Study Section
Cellular Aspects of Diabetes and Obesity Study Section (CADO)
Program Officer
Haft, Carol R
Project Start
Project End
Budget Start
Budget End
Support Year
Fiscal Year
Total Cost
Indirect Cost
University of Massachusetts Medical School Worcester
Anatomy/Cell Biology
Schools of Medicine
United States
Zip Code