Meruvu S, Hugendubler L, Mueller E
Zinc finger proteins constitute the largest family of transcription regulators in eukaryotes. These factors are involved in diverse processes in many tissues, including development and differentiation. We report here the characterization of the zinc finger protein ZNF638 as a novel regulator of adipogenesis. ZNF638 is induced early during adipocyte differentiation. Ectopic expression of ZNF638 increases adipogenesis in vitro, whereas its knockdown inhibits differentiation and decreases the expression of adipocyte-specific genes. ZNF638 physically interacts and transcriptionally cooperates with CCAAT/enhancer-binding protein (C/EBP) β and C/EBPδ. This interaction leads to the expression of peroxisome proliferator-activated receptor γ, which is the key regulator of adipocyte differentiation. In summary, ZNF638 is a novel and early regulator of adipogenesis that works as a transcription cofactor of C/EBPs.