The Department of Biomedicine

BBB seminar: Karsten Kristiansen

Differential roles of the retinoblastoma protein and p53 in white and brown adipocyte differentiation

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Karsten Kristiansen
Department of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology, University of Southern Denmark, Odense, Denmark

In response to cues that still remain enigmatic, mesenchymal stem cells give rise to adipocyte precursor cells, which subsequently differentiate into one of two major cell populations with different physiological roles, white and brown adipocytes. Two major regulators of the mammalian cell cycle, the retinoblastoma protein (pRB) and p53 have been implicated in the control of adipocyte differentiation. Initially, it was reported that pRB was required for adipocyte differentiation, whereas circumstantial evidence linked p53-deficiency to brown adipocyte differentiation. We have now demonstrated that the situation is much more complex in that pRB promotes differentiation of white adipocytes, but inhibits the formation of brown adipocytes. In contrast, p53 appears to be a general inhibitor of adipocyte differentiation, and down-regulation of p53 expression seems to be an integral part of the differentiation program leading to either white or brown adipocytes.

Prof. Karsten Kristiansen has been head of the Department of Molecular Biology and Biochemistry at the University of Southern Denmark in Odense since 1992.

Karsten Kristiansen's prior work was in the fields of protein chemistry and mass spectrometric analysis of biomolecules. He now focuses on gene expression and cellular differentiation with emphasis on keratinocyte and adipocyte differentiation and function.

Karsten Kristainsen has published 116 articles in refereed journals and presented more than 200 conference contributions and lectures. He was invited speaker at several prestigious international meetings such as Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory Symposia, Gordon Conferences, Nobel Conferences and Keystone Meetings. He supervised more than 80 master and Ph.D. students and currently has 2x PhD students and 3 postdocs in his group.