Open Access Research article

Dynamics of mRNA and polysomal abundance in early 3T3-L1 adipogenesis

Silvia von der Heyde1, Carolin Fromm-Dornieden2, Gabriela Salinas-Riester3, Tim Beissbarth1* and Bernhard G Baumgartner4

Author Affiliations

1 Department of Medical Statistics, Statistical Bioinformatics, University Medical Center Göttingen, Humboldtallee 32, 37073 Göttingen, Germany

2 Institute for Research in Operative Medicine (IFOM), Witten/Herdecke University, Ostmerheimer Straße 200, 51109 Cologne, Germany

3 Department of Developmental Biochemistry, DNA Microarray and Deep-Sequencing Facility Göttingen, University of Göttingen, Justus-von-Liebig-Weg 11, 37077 Göttingen, Germany

4 Department of Internal Medicine, Metabolic Diseases and Medical Molecular Biology, Paracelsus Private Medical University Salzburg, Müllner Hauptstr 48, 5020 Salzburg, Austria

For all author emails, please log on.

BMC Genomics 2014, 15:381  doi:10.1186/1471-2164-15-381

Published: 18 May 2014



Adipogenesis is a complex process, in which immature pre-adipocytes change morphology, micro-anatomy and physiology to become mature adipocytes. These store and accumulate fat and release diverse hormones. Massive changes in protein content and protein composition of the transforming cell take place within a short time-frame.

In a previous study we analyzed changes in the abundance of free and polysomal, i.e. ribosome bound, RNAs in the first hours of adipogenesis in the murine cell line 3T3-L1. Here we analyze changes of mRNA levels and their potential contribution to the changing protein pool by determination of mRNA levels and ribosome binding to mRNAs in 3T3-L1 cells stimulated for adipogenesis. We grouped mRNA species into categories with respect to up- or down-regulated transcription and translation and analyzed the groups regarding specific functionalities based on Gene Ontology (GO).


A shift towards up-regulation of gene expression in early adipogenesis was detected. Genes up-regulated at the transcriptional (TC:up) and translational (TL:up) level (TC:up/TL:up) are very likely involved in control and logistics of translation. Many of them are known to contain a TOP motif. In the TC:up/TL:unchanged group we detected most of the metal binding proteins and metal transporters. In the TC:unchanged/TL:up group several factors of the olfactory receptor family were identified, while in TC:unchanged/TL:down methylation and repair genes are represented. In the TC:down/TL:up group we detected many signaling factors. The TC:down/TL:unchanged group mainly consists of regulatory factors.


Within the first hours of adipogenesis, changes in transcriptional and translational regulation take place. Notably, genes with a specific biological or molecular function tend to cluster in groups according to their transcriptional and translational regulation.

Adipogenesis; Transcription; Translation; 3T3-L1 pre-adipocytes; Gene ontology; Gene enrichment; Differential expression; TOP motif