Seale et al , Tseng et al and Cannon and Nedergaard write in three articles of brown and white fat This is not a popular topic and these authors bring new insights to this most important field.
They describe a revised model of the origins of fat cells. White fat cells accumulate energy from food within a large fat droplet for later use (or not). Certain developmental cues, such as BMP2 and BMP4, induce young white fat cells to differentiate into mature fat cells. By contrast, brown fat cells, which also take up food energy, use it up in their mitochondria through the activity of the UCPl protein. It emerges that brown fat cells share their predecessor cells with muscle cells. Some of these precursor cells — for example, those controlled by BMP.can be induced to express PRDM 16, a transcription factor that will direct them into the pathway to develop into brown fat cells. In the absence of PRDM 16, and possibly owing to the activity of myogenin, the precursor cells develop into muscle cells, which also contain many mitochondria and use energy, but here they use it for real work.
Cannon and Nedergaard 2008 Neither fat nor flesh Nature vol 454 pp 947-948
Searle et al 2008 PRDM16 controls a brown fat/skeletal muscle switch. vol 454 pp 961-967
Tseng et al New role of bone morphogenetic protein 7 in brown adipogenesis and energy expenditure. Nature vol 454 pp 1000-1004
- Martin Eastwood