RBM4-MEF2C network constitutes a feed-forward circuit that facilitates the differentiation of brown adipocytes
Myocyte enhancer factor 2c (MEF2C) is the MADS-box type transcription factor involved in the differentiation of cardiac and skeletal muscle and synaptic formation. Alternatively spliced transcripts of the MEF2C gene were proven to encode isoforms which exert distinct functions in transcriptional regulation. During the differentiation of brown adipocytes, upregulated RBM4 enhanced skipping of the MEF2Cγ region which functions as a transcriptional repressor. The presence of an overexpressed MEF2Cγ- isoform in turn induced transcriptional activity of the RBM4 promoter, constituting a positive feedback circuit in differentiating brown adipocytes. The RBM4-MEF2Cγ- network induced the expression of "myogenic" miR-1 to a greater extent than did PRDM17, BMP7 C/EBPβ, or UCP1 transcripts in C3H10T1/2 cells. Overexpression of miR-1 independently exerted the same activity as RBM4 and the MEF2Cγ- isoform of upregulating brown adipocyte-specific factors in C3H10T1/2 cells, which suggests a potential effect of miR-1 on brown adipocytes. These results indicated that the RBM4-MEF2C-miR-1 network constitutes a novel mechanism which programs the gene expression profile toward the development of brown adipocytes.