FAT, ETC.: Artistic representation of fat cells (gold, round), surrounded by blood vessels (pink), fibroblasts (gold, star-shape), and a macrophage (purple) COURTESY OF PHILIPP SCHERER AND INGRID WERNSTEDT ASTERHOLM/GRAPHIC BY VISUALLY MEDICAL


The paper
Q.A. Wang et al., “Distinct regulatory mechanisms governing embryonic versus adult adipocyte maturation,” Nature Cell Biol, 17:1099-111, 2015.

Pumping up
Fat-cell development from precursors is an essential process that occurs throughout life, but when in overdrive, contributes to obesity and metabolic dysfunction. In charge of fat-cell production are two transcription factors, PPARγ and C/EBPα, present in the cell nuclei of adipocytes. To observe their dynamics at different life stages, Philipp Scherer at the University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center and colleagues needed to look in vivo.

Diverging pathways
The researchers created transgenic mice that selectively lost expression of C/EBPα or of PPARγ, predominantly in developing and mature adipocytes....

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