A circadian-regulated gene, Nocturnin, promotes adipogenesis by stimulating PPAR-γ nuclear translocation

Masanobu Kawai, Carla B. Green, Beata Lecka-Czernik, Nicholas Douris, Misty R. Gilbert, Shihoko Kojima, Cheryl Ackert-Bicknell, Neha Garg, Mark C. Horowitz, Martin L. Adamo, David R. Clemmons, Clifford J. Rosen

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

117 Scopus citations


Nocturnin (NOC) is a circadian-regulated protein related to the yeast family of transcription factors involved in the cellular response to nutrient status. In mammals, NOC functions as a deadenylase but lacks a transcriptional activation domain. It is highly expressed in bone-marrow stromal cells (BMSCs), hepatocytes, and adipocytes. In BMSCs exposed to the PPAR-γ (peroxisome proliferator-activated receptor-γ) agonist rosiglitazone, Noc expression was enhanced 30-fold. Previously, we reported that Noc-/- mice had low body temperature, were protected from diet-induced obesity, and most importantly exhibited absence of Pparg circadian rhythmicity on a high-fat diet. Consistent with its role in influencing BMSCs allocation, Noc-/- mice have reduced bone marrow adiposity and high bone mass. In that same vein, NOC overexpression enhances adipogenesis in 3T3-L1 cells but negatively regulates osteogenesis in MC3T3-E1 cells. NOC and a mutated form, which lacks deadenylase activity, bind to PPAR-γ and markedly enhance PPAR-γ transcriptional activity. Both WT and mutant NOC facilitate nuclear translocation of PPAR-γ. Importantly, NOC-mediated nuclear translocation of PPAR-γ is blocked by a short peptide fragment of NOC that inhibits its physical interaction with PPAR-γ. The inhibitory effect of this NOC-peptide was partially reversed by rosiglitazone, suggesting that effect of NOC on PPAR-γ nuclear translocation may be independent of ligand-mediated PPAR-γ activation. In sum, Noc plays a unique role in the regulation of mesenchymal stem-cell lineage allocation by modulating PPAR-γ activity through nuclear translocation. These data illustrate a unique mechanism whereby a nutrient-responsive gene influences BMSCs differentiation, adipogenesis, and ultimately body composition.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)10508-10513
Number of pages6
JournalProceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America
Issue number23
StatePublished - Jun 8 2010

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General


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