Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

Does This Gene Make You Look Fat?

10.05.2011
Researchers develop fruit fly model to study fat production gene

University of Arkansas researchers found a way to use fat development in fruit flies to help understand fat metabolism in other animals, including humans.

They have developed a genetic model to study a protein that regulates fat production and storage in fruit flies. This protein, which has counterparts in humans, will help researchers better understand the complex regulation of fat production and metabolism at the molecular level.

Michael Lehmann, professor of biological sciences, and his students Rupali Ugrankar, Sandra Schmitt and Jill Provaznik report their findings in Molecular and Cellular Biology.

“It seems surprising that we can use a fly to study these fundamental aspects of fat metabolism and relate them to humans,” said Lehmann. “But we know from other examples, such as insulin regulation, that basic metabolic pathways share similarities in fruit flies and humans.”

The researchers focused on lipin, a protein involved in fat and energy metabolism. Three different lipins regulate metabolism in humans and mice, and the interaction of these three proteins complicates metabolic studies in mammals. However, fruit flies have only one lipin gene. This makes them an ideal model for basic studies that can be conducted in flies with less cost and more speed than in mice.

When the researchers studied fruit fly larvae that carried a mutation in the lipin gene, they found that the animals looked like liposuction had been performed on them. The larvae barely had any fat deposits and the skinny animals quickly died after entering the stage of metamorphosis.

“Fruit fly larvae store large amounts of fat that provide the energy needed for metamorphosis into the adult fly,” Lehmann said. “Without fat, the animals run out of fuel and die before they can emerge as adults.”

While humans don’t go through metamorphosis, fat still serves a purpose.

“We have fat stores to survive starvation,” Lehmann said. In modern times, however, fat storage for humans has become problematic: Estimates suggest that two-thirds of Americans are either overweight or obese, and obesity is associated with health problems ranging from diabetes to heart disease and cancer. So understanding how fat metabolism is regulated at a fundamental level may help researchers understand what happens when people pack on too much fat.

Now that researchers have developed a genetic model for lipin as an essential player in the build-up of fat stores, scientists can start introducing specific changes in the protein to see how it affects fat metabolism. The versatility of fly genetics will allow them to identify other proteins that interact with lipin to control fat metabolism.

“Now we can shed some light on some of the most basic processes that regulate energy stores by using flies as a model system,” Lehmann said.

This research was supported by grants from the National Science Foundation and the National Institutes of Health.

Melissa Lutz Blouin | Newswise Science News
Further information:
http://www.uark.edu

Further reports about: Fat fat metabolism fly larvae fruit flies genetic model

More articles from Life Sciences:

nachricht Breakthrough in designing a better Salmonella vaccine
25.09.2018 | University of California - Davis

nachricht Proof of Concept: Gene therapy for mitochondrial diseases
25.09.2018 | Max-Planck-Institut für Biologie des Alterns

All articles from Life Sciences >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

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

Im Focus: Hygiene at your fingertips with the new CleanHand Network

The Fraunhofer FEP has been involved in developing processes and equipment for cleaning, sterilization, and surface modification for decades. The CleanHand Network for development of systems and technologies to clean surfaces, materials, and objects was established in May 2018 to bundle the expertise of many partnering organizations. As a partner in the CleanHand Network, Fraunhofer FEP will present the Network and current research topics of the Institute in the field of hygiene and cleaning at the parts2clean trade fair, October 23-25, 2018 in Stuttgart, at the booth of the Fraunhofer Cleaning Technology Alliance (Hall 5, Booth C31).

Test reports and studies on the cleanliness of European motorway rest areas, hotel beds, and outdoor pools increasingly appear in the press, especially during...

Im Focus: Scientists present new observations to understand the phase transition in quantum chromodynamics

The building blocks of matter in our universe were formed in the first 10 microseconds of its existence, according to the currently accepted scientific picture. After the Big Bang about 13.7 billion years ago, matter consisted mainly of quarks and gluons, two types of elementary particles whose interactions are governed by quantum chromodynamics (QCD), the theory of strong interaction. In the early universe, these particles moved (nearly) freely in a quark-gluon plasma.

This is a joint press release of University Muenster and Heidelberg as well as the GSI Helmholtzzentrum für Schwerionenforschung in Darmstadt.

Then, in a phase transition, they combined and formed hadrons, among them the building blocks of atomic nuclei, protons and neutrons. In the current issue of...

Im Focus: Patented nanostructure for solar cells: Rough optics, smooth surface

Thin-film solar cells made of crystalline silicon are inexpensive and achieve efficiencies of a good 14 percent. However, they could do even better if their shiny surfaces reflected less light. A team led by Prof. Christiane Becker from the Helmholtz-Zentrum Berlin (HZB) has now patented a sophisticated new solution to this problem.

"It is not enough simply to bring more light into the cell," says Christiane Becker. Such surface structures can even ultimately reduce the efficiency by...

Im Focus: New soft coral species discovered in Panama

A study in the journal Bulletin of Marine Science describes a new, blood-red species of octocoral found in Panama. The species in the genus Thesea was discovered in the threatened low-light reef environment on Hannibal Bank, 60 kilometers off mainland Pacific Panama, by researchers at the Smithsonian Tropical Research Institute in Panama (STRI) and the Centro de Investigación en Ciencias del Mar y Limnología (CIMAR) at the University of Costa Rica.

Scientists established the new species, Thesea dalioi, by comparing its physical traits, such as branch thickness and the bright red colony color, with the...

Im Focus: New devices based on rust could reduce excess heat in computers

Physicists explore long-distance information transmission in antiferromagnetic iron oxide

Scientists have succeeded in observing the first long-distance transfer of information in a magnetic group of materials known as antiferromagnets.

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

VideoLinks
Industry & Economy
Event News

"Boston calling": TU Berlin and the Weizenbaum Institute organize a conference in USA

21.09.2018 | Event News

One of the world’s most prominent strategic forums for global health held in Berlin in October 2018

03.09.2018 | Event News

4th Intelligent Materials - European Symposium on Intelligent Materials

27.08.2018 | Event News

 
Latest News

Small modulator for big data

25.09.2018 | Information Technology

NASA's Terra Satellite glares at the 37-mile wide eye of Super Typhoon Trami

25.09.2018 | Earth Sciences

Rice U. study sheds light on -- and through -- 2D materials

25.09.2018 | Materials Sciences

VideoLinks
Science & Research
Overview of more VideoLinks >>>