Adipogenesis and Cilia

Fat differentiation is a highly dynamic process. In fact, 10% of our adipocytes turn over every year and excess food intake causes an increase in both adipocyte size and number, outcomes that have distinct health outcomes. Currently, obesity and comorbidities represent a significant portion of the world health care costs. We want to further understand what signals and pathways initiate adipogenesis, and what the epigenetic and proteo-genomic changes are that allow the pre-adipocyte to become a mature, lipid-laden fat cell. To achieve this, we employ a mixture of multi-omics techniques with molecular and biochemical follow-up experiments.

Since pre-adipocyte are uniformly ciliated and the primary cilium is required for adipogenesis, we are particularly interested in uncovering how this organelle functions during differentiation. Does the cilium display any anti- or pro-adipogenic receptors? Does ciliary signaling activate known adipogenic transcription factors? And finally, can we use the primary cilium and ciliary proteins as markers for the progenitor state and adipogenic potential.