Adipsin is a serine protease homolog whose primary structure was predicted from the nucleotide sequence of a differentiation-dependent adipocyte messenger RNA. Immunoblots probed with antisera to synthetic peptides identify two forms of adipsin that are synthesized and secreted by 3T3 adipocytes. These proteins of 44 and 37 kilodaltons are converted to 25.5 kilodaltons by enzymatic deglycosylation. Although adipsin is principally synthesized in adipose tissue, it is also produced by sciatic nerve and is found in the bloodstream. Because of the apparent restriction of adipsin synthesis to tissues highly active in lipid metabolism, its presence in serum, and its modulation in altered metabolic states, this molecule may play a previously unrecognized role in systemic lipid metabolism or energy balance.
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