The transcriptional regulator Zfat is essential for maintenance and differentiation of the adipocytes

Shuhei Ishikura, Masayoshi Nagai, Toshiyuki Tsunoda, Kensuke Nishi, Yoko Tanaka, Midori Koyanagi, Senji Shirasawa

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

3 Citations (Scopus)


Adipocytes play crucial roles in the control of whole-body energy homeostasis. Differentiation and functions of the adipocytes are regulated by various transcription factors. Zfat (zinc-finger protein with AT-hook) is a transcriptional regulator that controls messenger RNA expression of specific genes through binding to their transcription start sites. Here we report important roles of Zfat in the adipocytes. We establish inducible Zfat-knockout (Zfat iKO) mice where treatment with tamoxifen causes a marked reduction in Zfat expression in various tissues. Tamoxifen treatment of Zfat iKO mice reduces the white adipose tissues (WATs) mass, accompanied by the decreased triglyceride levels. Zfat is expressed in both the adipose-derived stem cells (ADSCs) and mature adipocytes in the WATs. In ex vivo assays of the mature adipocytes differentiated from the Zfat iKO ADSCs, loss of Zfat in the mature adipocytes reduces the triglyceride levels, suggesting cell autonomous roles of Zfat in the maintenance of the mature adipocytes. Furthermore, we identify the Atg13, Brf1, Psmc3, and Timm22 genes as Zfat-target genes in the mature adipocytes. In contrast, loss of Zfat in the ADSCs impairs adipocyte differentiation with the decreased expression of C/EBPα and adiponectin. Thus, we propose that Zfat plays crucial roles in maintenance and differentiation of the adipocytes.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)626-638
Number of pages13
JournalJournal of Cellular Biochemistry
Issue number6
Publication statusPublished - Jun 2021

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Biochemistry
  • Molecular Biology
  • Cell Biology


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