Research ArticleCELL BIOLOGY

ASC-1, PAT2, and P2RX5 are cell surface markers for white, beige, and brown adipocytes

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Science Translational Medicine  30 Jul 2014:
Vol. 6, Issue 247, pp. 247ra103
DOI: 10.1126/scitranslmed.3008490

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White, beige, and brown adipocytes are developmentally and functionally distinct but often occur mixed together within individual depots. To target white, beige, and brown adipocytes for diagnostic or therapeutic purposes, a better understanding of the cell surface properties of these cell types is essential. Using a combination of in silico, in vitro, and in vivo methods, we have identified three new cell surface markers of adipose cell types. The amino acid transporter ASC-1 is a white adipocyte–specific cell surface protein, with little or no expression in brown adipocytes, whereas the amino acid transporter PAT2 and the purinergic receptor P2RX5 are cell surface markers expressed in classical brown and beige adipocytes in mice. These markers also selectively mark brown/beige and white adipocytes in human tissue. Thus, ASC-1, PAT2, and P2RX5 are membrane surface proteins that may serve as tools to identify and target white and brown/beige adipocytes for therapeutic purposes.

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