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October 12, 2007

Protein's Role in Obesity Discovered

  • The enzyme TPPII may contribute to obesity by stimulating the formation of fat cells, according to scientists at University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center.

    Previously, research linked TPPII, a protease, to making people feel hungry through its role in degrading the satiety hormone cholecystokinin 8.

    In the current study, the UT Southwestern team found that TPPII triggered the creation of fat cells in C. elegans regardless of dietary intake. They also observed that by reducing expression with RNAi, the fat stores decreased.

    “In mammalian cell culture,” the investigators add, “TPPII stimulates adipogenesis, and TPPII RNAi blocks adipogenesis.”

    Additionally, the research also showed that mice with lower levels of TPPII were thinner than their littermates, although their food intake was comparable.

    The work is published online in EMBO reports on October 12.

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