脂联素包含244个氨基酸，可分为4个结构域。从其N端起算，第一个是使其定位于细胞外的信号序列，第二个区域较短且在物种间高度变异，第三个65个氨基酸的区域与膠原蛋白相似，最后一个是脂联素的球状结构域。总的上看，这一蛋白与补体片段C1Q相似。 However, when the 3-dimensional structure of the globular region was determined, a striking similarity to TNFα was observed, despite unrelated protein sequences.
These have distinct tissue specificities within the body and have different affinities to the various forms of adiponectin. The receptors affect the downstream target AMP kinase, an important cellular metabolic rate control point. Expression of the receptors is correlated with insulin levels, as well as reduced in mouse models of diabetes, particularly in skeletal muscle and adipose tissue.
^Maeda K, Okubo K, Shimomura I, Funahashi T, Matsuzawa Y, Matsubara K. cDNA cloning and expression of a novel adipose specific collagen-like factor, apM1 (AdiPose Most abundant Gene transcript 1). Biochem. Biophys. Res. Commun. April 1996, 221 (2): 286–9. doi:10.1006/bbrc.1996.0587. PMID 8619847.