Cytoskeleton remodelling is a prerequisite step for the morphological transition from preadipocytes to mature adipocytes. Although microtubules play a pivotal role in organizing cellular structure, regulation of microtubule dynamics during adipogenesis remains unclear. In the present paper we show that acetylation of α-tubulin is up-regulated during adipogenesis, and adipocyte development is dependent on α-tubulin acetylation, as expression of an acetylation-resistant α-tubulin mutant significantly inhibits adipogenesis. Moreover, acetylation of α-tubulin is under the control of the acetyltransferase MEC-17 and deacetylases SIRT2 (Sirtuin 2) and HDAC6 (histone deacetylase 6). Adipocyte development is inhibited in MEC-17-knockdown cells, but enhanced in MEC-17-overexpressing cells. Finally, we show that katanin, a microtubule-severing protein with enhanced activity on acetylated α-tubulin, is actively involved in adipogenesis. We propose that co-ordinated up-regulation of α-tubulin acetylation initiates cytoskeleton remodelling by promoting α-tubulin severing by katanin which, in turn, allows expansion of lipid droplets and accelerates the morphological transition toward mature adipocytes.

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