Analysis of naturally occurring mutations in the human lipodystrophy protein seipin reveals multiple potential pathogenic mechanisms

M F Michelle Sim, M Mesbah Uddin Talukder, Rowena J Dennis, Stephen O'Rahilly, J Michael Edwardson, Justin J Rochford

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

36 Citations (Scopus)
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In humans, disruption of the gene BSCL2, encoding the protein seipin, causes congenital generalised lipodystrophy (CGL) with severe insulin resistance and dyslipidaemia. While the causative gene has been known for over a decade, the molecular functions of seipin are only now being uncovered. Most pathogenic mutations in BSCL2 represent substantial disruptions including significant deletions and frameshifts. However, several more subtle mutations have been reported that cause premature stop codons or single amino acid substitutions. Here we have examined these mutant forms of seipin to gain insight into how they may cause CGL.
We generated constructs expressing mutant seipin proteins and determined their expression and localisation. We also assessed their capacity to recruit the key adipogenic phosphatidic acid phosphatase lipin 1, a recently identified molecular role of seipin in developing adipocytes. Finally, we used atomic force microscopy to define the oligomeric structure of seipin and to determine whether this is affected by the mutations.
We show that the R275X mutant of seipin is not expressed in pre-adipocytes. While the other premature stop mutant forms fail to bind lipin 1 appropriately, the point mutants T78A, L91P and A212P all retain this capacity. We demonstrate that wild-type human seipin forms oligomers of 12 subunits in a circular configuration but that the L91P and A212P mutants of seipin do not.
Our study represents the most comprehensive analysis so far of mutants of seipin causing lipodystrophy and reveals several different molecular mechanisms by which these mutations may cause disease.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)2498-2506
Number of pages9
Issue number11
Early online date30 Aug 2013
Publication statusPublished - 1 Nov 2013


  • adipogenesis
  • adipose tissue
  • BSCL2
  • lipin
  • lipodystrophy
  • seipin


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