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Inhibition of nucleotide biosynthesis disrupts lipid accumulation and adipogenesis.

Energy balance and nutrient availability are key determinants of cellular decisions to remain quiescent, proliferate or differentiate into a mature cell. After assessing its environmental state, the cell must rewire its metabolism to support distinct cellular outcomes. Mechanistically, how metabolites regulate cell fate decisions is poorly understood. We used adipogenesis as our model system to ascertain the role of metabolism in differentiation. We isolated adipose tissue stromal vascular fraction (SVF) cells and profiled metabolites before and after adipogenic differentiation to identify metabolic signatures associated with these distinct cellular states. We found that differentiation alters nucleotide accumulation. Furthermore, inhibition of nucleotide biosynthesis prevented lipid storage within adipocytes and downregulated the expression of lipogenic factors. In contrast to proliferating cells, in which mTORC1 is activated by purine accumulation, mTORC1 signaling was unaffected by purine levels in differentiating adipocytes. Rather, our data indicated that purines regulate transcriptional activators of adipogenesis, PPARγ and C/EBPα to promote differentiation. Although de novo nucleotide biosynthesis has mainly been studied in proliferation, our study points to its requirement in adipocyte differentiation.

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