Leptin-specific patterns of gene expression in white adipose tissue

Genes Dev. 2000 Apr 15;14(8):963-80.


Leptin is a hormone that regulates body weight by decreasing food intake and increasing energy expenditure. ob/ob mice carry leptin mutations and are obese and hyperphagic. Leptin administration to lean and ob/ob mice activates a novel metabolic program that depletes adipose tissue. Although this response is physiologically distinct from that evident after food restriction, the molecular nature of these differences is as yet unknown. Expression monitoring of 6500 genes using oligonucleotide microarrays in wild-type, ob/ob, and transgenic mice expressing low levels of leptin revealed that differences in ambient leptin levels have dramatic effects on the phenotype of white adipose tissue. These data identified a large number of genes that are differentially expressed in ob/ob mice. To delineate the components of the transcriptional program specifically affected by leptin, the level of the same 6500 genes was monitored in wild-type and ob/ob mice at various times after leptin treatment or food restriction. A novel application of k-means clustering identified 8 clusters of adipose tissue genes whose expression was different between leptin treatment and food restriction in ob/ob mice and 10 such clusters in wild-type experiments. One of the clusters was repressed specifically by leptin in both wild-type and ob/ob mice and included several genes known to be regulated by SREBP-1/ADD1. Further studies confirmed that leptin decreases the levels of SREBP-1/ADD1 RNA and transcriptionally active SREBP-1/ADD1 protein in white adipose tissue. Future studies of the molecular basis for the apparent coordinate regulation of the other clusters of leptin-regulated genes may reveal additional mechanisms by which leptin exerts its weight-reducing effects.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, Non-P.H.S.
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Adipose Tissue / cytology
  • Adipose Tissue / metabolism*
  • Algorithms
  • Animals
  • Blotting, Northern
  • Body Weight
  • CCAAT-Enhancer-Binding Proteins*
  • Cell Differentiation
  • Cluster Analysis
  • DNA-Binding Proteins / metabolism
  • Down-Regulation
  • Female
  • Food Deprivation
  • Gene Expression
  • Leptin / biosynthesis*
  • Leptin / genetics*
  • Leptin / physiology
  • Mice
  • Mice, Inbred C57BL
  • Mice, Obese
  • Mice, Transgenic
  • Nuclear Proteins / metabolism
  • Oligonucleotide Array Sequence Analysis
  • Sterol Regulatory Element Binding Protein 1
  • Time Factors
  • Transcription Factors / metabolism
  • Transcription, Genetic
  • Up-Regulation


  • CCAAT-Enhancer-Binding Proteins
  • DNA-Binding Proteins
  • Leptin
  • Nuclear Proteins
  • Srebf1 protein, mouse
  • Sterol Regulatory Element Binding Protein 1
  • Transcription Factors