Here we show through genome-wide binding studies that transcription factor 7-like 1 (TCF7L1) represses structure-related genes during adipogenesis. Intriguingly, TCF7L1 is induced in a cell contact-dependent manner by confluency in preadipocytes and is required for adipocyte differentiation by repressing transcription of cell structure genes. TCF7L1 is also sufficient to bestow adipogenic potential upon non-adipogenic cells. These results implicate TCF7L1 as a novel adipogenic competency factor that uniquely determines adipogenic fate through cell structure organization required for adipocyte gene activation. Examination of TCF7L1 binding in preadipocytes treated for 24 hours with adipogenic stimuli.