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.
The protein expressed by the gene controls the production of fat cells, (known as adipogenesis), and the growth of those cells.
“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