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STATs (Signal Transducers and Activators of Transcription) comprise a family of transcription factors that reside in the cytoplasm of resting cells. In response to a variety of stimuli, STATs become tyrosine- phosphorylated and translocate to the nucleus where they mediate transcriptional regulation. We have used the 3T3-L1 murine cell line to examine the expression of STAT proteins as a function of their differentiation into adipocytes. The expression of STATs 1, 3, and 5, but not of STAT 6, is markedly elevated in adipocytes as compared with their fibroblast precursors. Exposure of 3T3-L1 preadipocytes to tumor necrosis factor α (TNFα) blocks their differentiation into adipocytes. Therefore, we examined STAT expression as a function of differentiation in the presence of this cytokine. The expression of STATs 1 and 5 is markedly attenuated in the presence of TNFα, whereas STAT 3 expression is unaffected by this treatment. Only STAT 1 is down-regulated by TNFα in fully differentiated cells. Thus, although the expression of STATs 1, 3, and 5 is markedly enhanced upon differentiation, only STAT 5 expression is tightly correlated with the adipocyte phenotype. These data suggest that STAT 5, and possibly STAT 1, could be potential inducers of tissue-specific genes, which contribute to the development and maintenance of the adipocyte phenotype.

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Journal of Biological Chemistry

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