Insulin resistance is a key feature of obesity and type 2 diabetes. PU.1 is a master transcription factor predominantly expressed in macrophages but after HFD feeding PU.1 expression is also significantly increased in adipocytes. We generated adipocyte specific PU.1 knockout mice using adiponectin cre to investigate the role of PU.1 in adipocyte biology, insulin and glucose homeostasis. In HFD-fed obese mice systemic glucose tolerance and insulin sensitivity were improved in PU.1 AKO mice and clamp studies indicated improvements in both adipose and liver insulin sensitivity. At the level of adipose tissue, macrophage infiltration and inflammation was decreased and glucose uptake was increased in PU.1 AKO mice compared with controls. While PU.1 deletion in adipocytes did not affect the gene expression of PPARg itself, we observed increased expression of PPARg target genes in eWAT from HFD fed PU.1 AKO mice compared with controls. Furthermore, we observed decreased phosphorylation at serine 273 in PU.1 AKO mice compared with fl/fl controls, indicating that PPARg is more active when PU.1 expression is reduced in adipocytes. Therefore, in obesity the increased expression of PU.1 in adipocytes modifies the adipocyte PPARg cistrome resulting in impaired glucose tolerance and insulin sensitivity.
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