Transcription factor Snail is a novel regulator of adipocyte differentiation via inhibiting the expression of peroxisome proliferator- activated receptor γ

Yong Ho Lee, Soo Hyun Kim, Yoo Jeong Lee, Eun Seok Kang, Byung Wan Lee, Bong Soo Cha, Jae Woo Kim, Dae Hyun Song, Hyun Chul Lee

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

41 Citations (Scopus)


Snail belongs to the superfamily of zinc-finger transcription factors and plays a crucial role in processes regulating cell fate, such as the formation of mesoderm and initiation of epithelial-mesenchymal transition. We have previously discovered that Snail modulates adiponectin expression in 3T3-L1 cells during adipogenesis. In the present study, we elucidated the functional role of Snail in adipocyte differentiation and its underlying molecular mechanism. Snail expression was dramatically decreased during adipogenesis in 3T3-L1 cells. Overexpression of Snail blocked adipocyte differentiation by suppressing the expression of peroxisome proliferator-activated receptor gamma (PPARγ) and CCAAT-enhancer-binding protein alpha, while knockdown of Snail expression stimulated adipogenesis in 3T3-L1 cells. Chromatin immunoprecipitation assay and luciferase assay showed that Snail inhibits the transcriptional activity of the PPARγ gene by directly binding to the E-box motifs in the PPARγ promoter. Wnt10b induced phosphorylation of glycogen synthase kinase 3 beta (GSK3β), leading to inhibition of adipogenesis in 3T3-L1 cells in accordance with increased expression of Snail, whereas adipogenic capacity was restored in Snail siRNA-transfected preadipocytes. LiCl (a GSK3β inhibitor)-treated cells also showed increased expression of Snail, with a reduced adipogenic potential. Snail-overexpressing 3T3-F442A cells did not differentiate into mature adipocytes in immunodeficient nude mice. Taken together, Snail is a novel regulator of adipocyte differentiation, which acts by direct suppression of PPARγ expression. Our data also indicate that the expression of Snail is mediated by the Wnt-GSK3β signaling pathway.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)3959-3971
Number of pages13
JournalCellular and Molecular Life Sciences
Issue number20
Publication statusPublished - 2013 Oct

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
We sincerely thank Chun Sik Park, MD, PhD, for his critical comments on the study. This study was supported by a faculty research grant of Yonsei University College of Medicine for 2012 (6-2012-2010).Y. L., S. H. K. and Y. J. L. researched data. Y. L., S. H. K. and H. C. L. wrote the manuscript. E. S. K., B–W. L., B. S. C. J. W. K., and D. H. S. contributed to the discussion and reviewed and edited the manuscript. H. C. L. is the guarantor of this work and had full access to all the data in the study and takes responsibility for the integrity of the data and the accuracy of the data analysis.

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Molecular Medicine
  • Molecular Biology
  • Pharmacology
  • Cellular and Molecular Neuroscience
  • Cell Biology


Dive into the research topics of 'Transcription factor Snail is a novel regulator of adipocyte differentiation via inhibiting the expression of peroxisome proliferator- activated receptor γ'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this