Zinc enhances adiponectin oligomerization to octadecamers but decreases the rate of disulfide bond formation

David B. Briggs, Rebecca M. Giron, Karina Schnittker, Madeline V. Hart, Chad K. Park, Andrew C. Hausrath, Tsu Shuen Tsao

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

17 Scopus citations


Adiponectin, a hormone secreted from adipocytes, has been shown to protect against development of insulin resistance, ischemia-reperfusion injury, and inflammation. Adiponectin assembles into multiple oligomeric isoforms: trimers, hexamers and several higher molecular weight (HMW) species. Of these, the HMW species are selectively decreased during the onset of type 2 diabetes. Despite the critical role of HMW adiponectin in insulin responsiveness, its assembly process is poorly understood. In this report, we investigated the role of divalent cations in adiponectin assembly. Purified adiponectin 18mers, the largest HMW species, did not collapse to smaller oligomers after treatment with high concentrations of EDTA. However, treatment with EDTA or another chelator DTPA inhibited the oligomerization of 18mers from trimers in vitro. Zn 2+ specifically increased the formation of 18mers when compared with Cu 2+, Mg 2+, and Ca 2+. Distribution of adiponectin oligomers secreted from zinc chelator TPEN-treated rat adipocytes skewed toward increased proportions of hexamers and trimers. While we observed presence of zinc in adiponectin purified from calf serum, the role of zinc in disulfide bonding between oligomers was examined because the process is critical for 18mer assembly. Surprisingly, Zn 2+ inhibited disulfide bond formation early in the oligomerization process. We hypothesize that initial decreases in disulfide formation rates could allow adiponectin subunits to associate before becoming locked in fully oxidized conformations incapable of further oligomerization. These data demonstrate that zinc stimulates oligomerization of HMW adiponectin and possibly other disulfide-dependent protein assembly processes.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)469-486
Number of pages18
Issue number2
StatePublished - Apr 2012


  • Adipocyte
  • Adiponectin
  • Adiponectin oligomerization
  • Disulfide bonds
  • Macromolecular protein assembly
  • Zinc

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biomaterials
  • General Biochemistry, Genetics and Molecular Biology
  • General Agricultural and Biological Sciences
  • Metals and Alloys


Dive into the research topics of 'Zinc enhances adiponectin oligomerization to octadecamers but decreases the rate of disulfide bond formation'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this