A new study by the University of British Columbia has determined that a gene which encodes a specific protein called 14-3-3zeta is responsible for addressing obesity.
Scientists used a mouse model to prevent protein expression by silencing the gene. The result was a 50% reduction in a specific type of unhealthy fat, “white fat” which is associated with obesity, heart disease and diabetes.
“People gain fat in two ways — through the multiplication of their fat cells, and through the expansion of individual fat cells,” said Gareth Lim, a postdoctoral fellow in UBC’s Life Sciences Institute. “This protein affects both the number of cells and how big they are, by playing a role in the growth cycle of these cells.”
Gareth E. Lim, Tobias Albrecht, Micah Piske, Karnjit Sarai, Jason T. C Lee, Hayley S. Ramshaw, Sunita Sinha, Mark A. Guthridge, Amparo Acker-Palmer, Angel F. Lopez, Susanne M. Clee, Corey Nislow, James D. Johnson. 14-3-3ζ coordinates adipogenesis of visceral fat. Nature Communications, 2015; 6: 7671 DOI: 10.1038/ncomms8671