Cell shape alteration during adipogenesis is associated with coordinated matrix cues

Lisa Mor-Yossef Moldovan, Maayan Lustig, Alex Naftaly, Mariya Mardamshina, Tamar Geiger, Amit Gefen, Dafna Benayahu*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Obesity has become one of the leading pathophysiologic disorders in recent years. Adipose tissue is the main tissue related to obesity and is known to play a role in various physiological complications, including type 2 diabetes. To better understand how the fat tissue develops, we used an in vitro live cell imaging system to quantify the adipogenesis by means of nondestructive digital imaging to monitor the accumulation of intracellular lipid droplets (LDs), a hallmark of adipogenesis, from the macro- to the micro-scale. Analyzing the cells’ shape at the single-cell level allows to quantify the cells’ shape change from a fibroblast to spherical morphology, indicating the start of adipogenesis. To reveal the molecular alterations, we applied a proteomic approach using high-resolution mass spectrometry of the proliferation, confluent fibroblasts and of adipocytes. During this process, we noted the reorganization of the cells’ extracellular matrix (ECM) network microenvironment from fibrillary collagen types I, III and V to collagens IV and VI, which affected the cells niche. The changes in ECM are translated for cytoskeleton remodeling according to cell fate-determining mechanisms. We quantified the cytoskeleton rearrangement of long oriented actin fibers or short cortical and disorganized fibers, associated with LDs accumulation in adipocytes. Developing in vitro models and analytical methods enable us to study differentiation into adipocytes that will advance our understanding regarding the niche conditions that affect adipogenesis. Consequently, this will enable the development of new modalities to prevent obesity and its deleterious outcomes and to develop potential treatments to battle pathophysiology-related diseases.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)3850-3863
Number of pages14
JournalJournal of Cellular Physiology
Issue number4
StatePublished - Apr 2019


  • ECM and cytoskeleton remodeling
  • adipogenesis
  • cell niche
  • collagens
  • mass spectrometry


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