New obesity gene discovered

obesityA new study by the University of British Columbia has determined that a gene which encodes a specific called 14-3-3zeta is responsible for addressing obesity.

Obesity has caused global and is associated with an increased level of throughout the body which in turn affects diabetes and .

Scientists used a mouse model to prevent 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, and diabetes.

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

“People gain fat in two ways — through the multiplication of their , and through the expansion of individual ,” said Gareth Lim, a in UBC’s Life Sciences Institute. “This affects both the number of cells and how big they are, by playing a role in the growth cycle of these cells.”

“Until now, we didn’t know how this gene affected obesity,” Johnson said. “This study shows how fundamental can address major health problems and open up new avenues for drug discovery.”


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

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