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Fat controlling protein identified

Sun, Dec 14, 2014, 04:00 PM
New York, Dec 14 : A protein that governs the synthesis of other proteins in the cell also appears capable of controlling fat levels in the body, a new research has found.

The finding applies to the Maf1 protein in worms. A similar version of the protein, which exists in humans, also regulates protein production in the cell, thereby raising hope that it, too, may control fat storage.

"A protein with such a function would offer a new target for pharmaceuticals to regulate fat," said corresponding author Sean Curran, assistant professor at University of Southern California Davis.

"We have known about Maf1 for over a decade, but so far people have only studied it in single cells, where it is known to regulate protein synthesis," Curran added.

"No one really looked at its effect on the whole organism before," Curran said.

For the study, the researchers tweaked the amount of Maf1 in C. elegans, a transparent worm often used as a model organism by biologists.

The team found that adding in a single extra copy of gene that expresses Maf1 decreased stored lipids by 34 percent, while reducing Maf1 levels increased stored lipids by 94 percent.

The study appeared in the journal Cell Reports.
Agency: IANS

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