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C1q/TNF‐Related Protein 3 (CTRP3) Function and Regulation

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As the largest endocrine organ, adipose tissue secretes many bioactive molecules that circulate in blood, collectively termed adipokines. Efforts to identify such metabolic regulators have led to the discovery of a family of secreted proteins, designated as C1q tumor necrosis factor (TNF)‐related proteins (CTRPs). The CTRP proteins, adiponectin, TNF‐alpha, as well as other proteins with the distinct C1q domain are collectively grouped together as the C1q/TNF superfamily. Reflecting profound biological potency, the initial characterization of these adipose tissue‐derived CTRP factors finds wide‐ranging effects upon metabolism, inflammation, and survival‐signaling in multiple tissue types. CTRP3 (also known as CORS26, cartducin, or cartonectin) is a unique member of this adipokine family. In this review we provide a comprehensive overview of the research concerning the expression, regulation, and physiological function of CTRP3. © 2017 American Physiological Society. Compr Physiol 7:863‐878, 2017.

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Figure 1. Figure 1. Structural overview of CTRP3. The human CTRP3A gene is 25.3 kb in size, consists of six exons and five introns, and is located on chromosome 5p13. Exons 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, and 6 of the CTRP3A gene are 171, 112, 155, 130, 100, and 2885 bp in size, respectively. The size of each intron is also indicated. Exon 1B (gray square) contains a 219‐nucleotide sequence found in CTRP3B cDNA, coding for an extra 73 amino acid residues. A potential N‐linked glycosylation site is circled. The consensus splice donors are shown in italic type. This figure was originally published in The Journal of Biological Chemistry () and image reproduced according to the copyright policy of the ASBMB. © the American Society for Biochemistry and Molecular Biology.

Figure 1. Structural overview of CTRP3. The human CTRP3A gene is 25.3 kb in size, consists of six exons and five introns, and is located on chromosome 5p13. Exons 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, and 6 of the CTRP3A gene are 171, 112, 155, 130, 100, and 2885 bp in size, respectively. The size of each intron is also indicated. Exon 1B (gray square) contains a 219‐nucleotide sequence found in CTRP3B cDNA, coding for an extra 73 amino acid residues. A potential N‐linked glycosylation site is circled. The consensus splice donors are shown in italic type. This figure was originally published in The Journal of Biological Chemistry () and image reproduced according to the copyright policy of the ASBMB. © the American Society for Biochemistry and Molecular Biology.
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Teaching Material


Y. Li, G. L. Wright, J. M. Peterson. C1q/TNF-Related Protein 3 (CTRP3) Function and Regulation. Compr Physiol 7 2017, 863-878.


Didactic Synopsis





This article summarizes the current research on CTRP3 at the graduate level.





Major Teaching Points:






  • Because of its size repeating amino acid sequence in the collagen domain CTRP3 was originally named CORS26 (Collagenous repeat-containing sequence 26 kDa protein), but later renamed as CTRP3 as it is one of many member of protein family designated as C1q TNF-related proteins. CTRP3 is a secreted protein and circulates in the blood.


  • Peroxisome proliferator-activated receptor-gamma (PPAR-γ), specificity protein 1 (SP-1), and c-FOS decreased CTRP3 expression and the transcription factor c-Jun is the only known transcription factor which increases CTRP3 expression.


  • CTRP3 increases liver lipid metabolism, reduces the amount of damage and improves recovery following a heart attack, and inhibits inflammation.


  • Although research indicates that CTRP3 appears to prevent arthritis and repair cartilage, CTRP3 may also increase the development of certain types of bone cancers osteosarcoma and chondroblastoma.


  • The function of CTRP3 is still being actively investigated as well as its role in human health especially in regards to Fatty liver and metabolic syndrome.





Didactic Legends


The figures—in a freely downloadable PowerPoint format—can be found on the Images tab along with the formal legends published in the article. The following legends to the same figures are written to be useful for teaching.


Figure 1. Teaching points: This figure highlights the two different versions of CTRP3 protein that can be made from the same RNA sequence. In addition this figure also highlights the four major domains of CTRP3 that are characteristic of all CTRP proteins: the signal peptide (SP), the N-terminal domain, the collagen domain (marked by 21 Gly-X-Y repeats), and the signature C1q domain.






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How to Cite

Ying Li, Gary L. Wright, Jonathan M. Peterson. C1q/TNF‐Related Protein 3 (CTRP3) Function and Regulation. Compr Physiol 2017, 7: 863-878. doi: 10.1002/cphy.c160044