Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

UCI scientists discover a new healthy role for fat

21.09.2006
Fat droplets play protective role inside cells

Too much body fat may be a bad thing, but there is increasing evidence that too little fat also may have some surprisingly negative consequences.

Researchers at UC Irvine have found that fat droplets – tiny balls of fat that exist in most cells – appear to have an intriguing role to play when it comes to regulating excess proteins in the body. In a study with fruit flies, developmental biologist Steven Gross and colleagues found that these fat droplets served as storage depots for a type of protein used primarily by the cell to bind DNA and organize it in the nucleus. The fat keeps this extra protein out of the way until it is needed so that it does not cause harm within the cell. The findings imply that fat droplets could also serve as storage warehouses for other excess proteins that might otherwise cause harm if not sequestered. The study appears in the current issue of Current Biology.

“We were surprised to find that these droplets appear to be a mechanism for cleaning up excess proteins before they cause trouble,” said Gross, associate professor of developmental and cell biology. “Obviously, everything in the body should be balanced. There is no doubt that huge amounts of fat tax your system in a lot of ways. But there now appears to be growing evidence that fat is also important for keeping us healthy.”

... more about:
»HDL-cholesterol »Nucleus »UCI »droplets »histones

Researchers used fruit flies in their experiments because of strong similarities between the fat droplets in the flies and in mammals. They purified the droplets in fruit fly embryos and used mass spectrometry to look at what, if any, proteins were associated with the droplets. They were surprised to find histones, a protein that is used by the cell to fold DNA within the nucleus. Even though histones appear to serve no purpose outside the nucleus, the scientists found that 50 percent of all the histones present in the cell were in the fat droplets. Interestingly, the amount of histones in the droplets dropped as the embryo moved from early development to later stages, indicating that the histones moved from the droplets to the nucleus as they were needed. In essence, the fat droplets acted as a warehouse where the proteins could be stored until needed by the nucleus of the cell.

Gross and his colleagues believe the droplets serve this purpose not just for histones, but for other excess proteins, as well. This has implications for how fat may be helping fight certain diseases when too much of certain proteins are produced.

“In prion diseases, such as Mad Cow Disease, for example, proteins in the brain are misshapen,” Gross said. “They become abnormal, clump together and accumulate on brain tissue. Although we have no evidence yet that fat droplets could help with this, prion diseases are one area in which we can explore further to see if these droplets are helping keep excess bothersome proteins out of the way.”

Gross emphasized that clinical trials would be needed to evaluate whether storage of proteins on fat droplets is important for human health.

Collaborating on the study with Gross were Silvia Cermelli of UCI, and Michael Welte and Yi Guo of Brandeis University. The study was funded by National Institute of General Medical Sciences and the National Institutes of Health.

About the University of California, Irvine: The University of California, Irvine is a top-ranked university dedicated to research, scholarship and community service. Founded in 1965, UCI is among the fastest-growing University of California campuses, with more than 24,000 undergraduate and graduate students and about 1,400 faculty members. The second-largest employer in dynamic Orange County, UCI contributes an annual economic impact of $3.3 billion. For more UCI news, visit www.today.uci.edu.

Television: UCI has a broadcast studio available for live or taped interviews. For more information, visit www.today.uci.edu/broadcast.

News Radio: UCI maintains on campus an ISDN line for conducting interviews with its faculty and experts. The use of this line is available free-of-charge to radio news programs/stations who wish to interview UCI faculty and experts. Use of the ISDN line is subject to availability and approval by the university.

Farnaz Khadem | EurekAlert!
Further information:
http://www.uci.edu

Further reports about: HDL-cholesterol Nucleus UCI droplets histones

More articles from Life Sciences:

nachricht Ion treatments for cardiac arrhythmia — Non-invasive alternative to catheter-based surgery
20.01.2017 | GSI Helmholtzzentrum für Schwerionenforschung GmbH

nachricht Seeking structure with metagenome sequences
20.01.2017 | DOE/Joint Genome Institute

All articles from Life Sciences >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: Traffic jam in empty space

New success for Konstanz physicists in studying the quantum vacuum

An important step towards a completely new experimental access to quantum physics has been made at University of Konstanz. The team of scientists headed by...

Im Focus: How gut bacteria can make us ill

HZI researchers decipher infection mechanisms of Yersinia and immune responses of the host

Yersiniae cause severe intestinal infections. Studies using Yersinia pseudotuberculosis as a model organism aim to elucidate the infection mechanisms of these...

Im Focus: Interfacial Superconductivity: Magnetic and superconducting order revealed simultaneously

Researchers from the University of Hamburg in Germany, in collaboration with colleagues from the University of Aarhus in Denmark, have synthesized a new superconducting material by growing a few layers of an antiferromagnetic transition-metal chalcogenide on a bismuth-based topological insulator, both being non-superconducting materials.

While superconductivity and magnetism are generally believed to be mutually exclusive, surprisingly, in this new material, superconducting correlations...

Im Focus: Studying fundamental particles in materials

Laser-driving of semimetals allows creating novel quasiparticle states within condensed matter systems and switching between different states on ultrafast time scales

Studying properties of fundamental particles in condensed matter systems is a promising approach to quantum field theory. Quasiparticles offer the opportunity...

Im Focus: Designing Architecture with Solar Building Envelopes

Among the general public, solar thermal energy is currently associated with dark blue, rectangular collectors on building roofs. Technologies are needed for aesthetically high quality architecture which offer the architect more room for manoeuvre when it comes to low- and plus-energy buildings. With the “ArKol” project, researchers at Fraunhofer ISE together with partners are currently developing two façade collectors for solar thermal energy generation, which permit a high degree of design flexibility: a strip collector for opaque façade sections and a solar thermal blind for transparent sections. The current state of the two developments will be presented at the BAU 2017 trade fair.

As part of the “ArKol – development of architecturally highly integrated façade collectors with heat pipes” project, Fraunhofer ISE together with its partners...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

Sustainable Water use in Agriculture in Eastern Europe and Central Asia

19.01.2017 | Event News

12V, 48V, high-voltage – trends in E/E automotive architecture

10.01.2017 | Event News

2nd Conference on Non-Textual Information on 10 and 11 May 2017 in Hannover

09.01.2017 | Event News

 
Latest News

Helmholtz International Fellow Award for Sarah Amalia Teichmann

20.01.2017 | Awards Funding

An innovative high-performance material: biofibers made from green lacewing silk

20.01.2017 | Materials Sciences

Ion treatments for cardiac arrhythmia — Non-invasive alternative to catheter-based surgery

20.01.2017 | Life Sciences

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>