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Slimming gene - New nucleic acid molecules and polypeptides involved in lipid metabolism

07.06.2010
The present invention relates to the newly identified fruit fly gene schlank that is involved in the control of the fat metabolism. Larvae in which this gene is defective are not able to store fat and lose their entire fat reserves.

The corresponding protein schlank has a regulatory function as it promotes the lipid synthesis and at the same time inhibits the fat mobilisation from fat reserves. The reduction of storage fat in larvae with a mutated schlank gene results from a failure of lipogenesis and/or increased lipolysis. Mammals carry a group of genes (so-called Lass genes) that are structurally very similar to schlank. This resemblance is so striking that Lass genes from mice can partially compensate for the defective

schlank gene in mutant flies. Due to these strong parallels the Lass genes possibly take on a similar function in the lipid metabolism. The mammalian Lass family members might therefore be a target for the prevention or treatment of lipid-based metabolic diseases. This raises hope for the development of new medicines with which obesity could be fought.

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