Adipose tissue is the primary tissue affected in most single gene forms of severe insulin resistance, and growing evidence has implicated it as a site at which many risk alleles for insulin resistance identified in population-wide studies might exert their effect. There is thus increasing need for human adipocyte models in which to interrogate the function of known and emerging genetic risk variants. However, primary adipocyte cultures, existing immortalised cell lines and stem-cell based models all have significant biological or practical limitations. In an attempt to widen the repertoire of human cell models in which to study adipocyte-autonomous effects of relevant human genetic variants, we have undertaken direct reprogramming of skin fibroblasts to adipocyte-like cells by employing an inducible recombinant lentivirus overexpressing the master adipogenic transcription factor PPARγ2. Doxycycline-driven expression of PPARγ2 and adipogenic culture conditions converted dermal fibroblasts into triglyceride-laden cells within days. The resulting cells recapitulated most of the crucial aspects of adipocyte biology
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