We have used the 3T3-L1 and 3T3-F442A preadipocyte cell lines to examine the expression and regulation of neuronal apoptosis inhibitory protein (NAIP) during adipocyte differentiation. When 3T3-L1 preadipocytes differentiated into adipocytes, they developed resistance to apoptosis induced by growth factor deprivation, as assessed by terminal deoxynucleotide transferase (TdT)-mediated dUTP nick end labeling. Protein expression of NAIP was markedly elevated in 3T3-L1 and 3T3-F442A adipocytes compared with that in their fibroblast-like precursors. NAIP was also present in rat white adipocytes. In 3T3-L1 cells, the increase in NAIP occurred by day 4 of the 8-day differentiation protocol, which includes exposure of confluent preadipocytes to insulin, dexamethasone, and isobutylmethylxanthine. Incubation of confluent 3T3-L1 preadipocytes with any of these components alone had no effect on NAIP expression. When 3T3-C2 cells, a control cell line that does not differentiate, were subjected to the differentiation protocol, the low NAIP levels remained unaltered. Addition of rapamycin, a p70 S6 kinase inhibitor that blocks adipocyte differentiation, to the 3T3-L1 differentiation medium prevented the rise in NAIP expression. These data demonstrate for the first time that NAIP is expressed in adipocyte cell lines and primary adipocytes. The differentiation-dependent augmentation of NAIP protein levels in 3T3-L1 adipocytes is closely correlated with the development of resistance to apoptosis induced by growth factor deprivation, suggesting a potential role for NAIP in these cells.

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