Oligomers of the lipodystrophy protein seipin may co-ordinate GPAT3 and AGPAT2 enzymes to facilitate adipocyte differentiation

M F Michelle Sim, Elisa Persiani, M Mesbah Uddin Talukder, George McIlroy, Ahlima Roumane, J Michael Edwardson, Justin Rochford*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

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Seipin deficiency causes severe congenital generalized lipodystrophy (CGL) and metabolic disease. However, how seipin regulates adipocyte development and function remains incompletely understood. We previously showed that seipin acts as a scaffold protein for AGPAT2, whose disruption also causes CGL. More recently, seipin has been reported to promote adipogenesis by directly inhibiting GPAT3, leading to the suggestion that GPAT inhibitors could offer novel treatments for CGL. Here we investigated the interactions between seipin, GPAT3 and AGPAT2. We reveal that seipin and GPAT3 associate via direct interaction and that seipin can simultaneously bind GPAT3 and AGPAT2. Inhibiting the expression of seipin, AGPAT2 or GPAT3 led to impaired induction of early markers of adipocyte differentiation in cultured cells. However, consistent with normal adipose mass in GPAT3-null mice, GPAT3 inhibition did not prevent the formation of mature adipocytes. Nonetheless, loss of GPAT3 in seipin-deficient preadipocytes exacerbated the failure of adipogenesis in these cells. Thus, our data indicate that GPAT3 plays a modest positive role in adipogenesis and argue against the potential of GPAT inhibitors to rescue white adipose tissue mass in CGL2. Overall, our study reveals novel mechanistic insights regarding the molecular pathogenesis of severe lipodystrophy caused by mutations in either seipin or AGPAT2.
Original languageEnglish
Article number3259
Number of pages14
JournalScientific Reports
Publication statusPublished - 24 Feb 2020

Bibliographical note

This work was supported by The Agency for Science, Technology and Research, Singapore (A*STAR) (M.F.M.S), a Merit Scholarship from the Islamic Development Bank (to M.M.U.T.), the Medical Research Council [NIRG GO800203 and Research Grant MR/L002620/1], the Wellcome Trust [Grant number: 100574/Z/12/Z], Diabetes UK [18/0005884] and the Biotechnology and Biological Sciences Research Council [BB/K017772/1] (to J.J.R.).


  • mechanisms of disease
  • type 2 diabetes


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