Gilardi F. et al.
In obesity, adipose tissue undergoes a remodeling process characterized by increased adipocyte size (hypertrophia) and number (hyperplasia). The individual ability to tip the balance toward the hyperplastic growth, with recruitment of new fat cells through adipogenesis, seems to be critical for a healthy adipose tissue expansion, as opposed to the development of inflammation and detrimental metabolic consequences. However, the molecular mechanisms underlying this fine-tuned regulation are far from being understood. Methods We analyzed by mass spectrometry-based proteomics visceral white adipose tissue (vWAT) samples collected from C57BL6 mice fed with a HFD for 8 weeks. A subset of these mice, called low inflammation (Low-INFL), showed a low susceptibility to the onset of adipose tissue inflammation, as opposed to those developing the expected inflammatory response (Hi-INFL). We identified the discriminants between Low-INFL and Hi-INFL vWAT samples and explored their function in Adipose Derived human Mesenchymal Stem Cells (AD-hMSCs) differentiated to adipocytes. Results We quantified 6051 proteins. Among the candidates that most differentiate Low-INFL from Hi-INFL vWAT, we found proteins involved in adipocyte function, including adiponectin and hormone sensitive lipase, suggesting that adipocyte differentiation is enhanced in Low-INFL, as compared to Hi-INFL. The chromatin modifier SET and MYND Domain Containing 3 (SMYD3), whose function in adipose tissue was so far unknown, was another top-scored hit. SMYD3 expression was significantly higher in Low-INFL vWAT, as confirmed by western blot analysis. In vitro, we found that SMYD3 mRNA and protein levels decrease rapidly along the differentiation process of AD-hMSCs. Moreover, SMYD3 knock-down at the beginning of adipocyte differentiation resulted in reduced cell proliferation and, at longer term, reduced lipid accumulation in adipocytes. Conclusions Our study describes an important role for SMYD3 as a newly discovered regulator of adipocyte proliferation during the early steps of adipogenesis.