Differentiation of 3T3-L1 fibroblasts to adipocytes induced by transfection of ras oncogenes

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Science  02 Aug 1991:
Vol. 253, Issue 5019, pp. 565-568
DOI: 10.1126/science.1857988


Mammalian 3T3-L1 cells differentiate into adipocytes after continuous exposure to pharmacological doses of insulin or physiological doses of insulin-like growth factor I (IGF-1). Expression of transfected ras oncogenes led to differentiation of these cells into adipocytes in the absence of externally added insulin or IGF-I. Cells transfected with normal ras genes or the tyrosine kinase trk oncogene did not differentiate. Transfection with a dominant inhibitory ras mutant resulted in inhibition of differentiation. Exposure of untransfected 3T3-L1 cells to insulin stimulated formation of the active Ras.GTP complex. These observations indicate that Ras proteins participate in signal transduction pathways initiated by insulin and IGF-I in these cells.

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