Leading the Way in Life Science Technologies

GEN Exclusives

More »

GEN News Highlights

More »
Jun 21, 2013

Telomere-Guarding Gene May Also Protect Against Obesity

  • A gene that plays a role in protecting telomeres might also be linked with obesity. Researchers have found that mice lacking this gene, RAP1, gain more weight, even if they do not eat more than their control counterparts.

    Investigators at the Spanish National Cancer Research Centre (CNIO) present today in Cell Reports their analysis of RAP1. “We still don't know what evolutionary significance to attach to it, but it is at the very least interesting that a telomere gene is related to obesity," Maria Blasco, Ph.D., CNIO director, said in a statement.

    Beyond gaining more weight, Dr. Blasco and her colleagues found that mice lacking RAP1 also “suffer from metabolic syndrome, accumulate abdominal fat, and present high glucose and cholesterol levels, amongst other symptoms,” she said.

    The researchers also report having found that RAP1 binds to Pparα and Pgc1α loci, modulating their transcription.

    “This discovery adds an element to the obesity equation, and opens up a possible new link between metabolic dysfunction and aging, via a protein present in telomeres,” Dr. Blasco added.

    The next step, she said, would be to further investigate the role RAP1 plays in the regulation of genes involved in metabolism.



Related content

Be sure to take the GEN Poll

Scientifically Studying Ecstasy

MDMA (commonly known as the empathogen “ecstasy”) is classified as a Schedule 1 drug, which is reserved for compounds with no accepted medical use and a high abuse potential. Two researchers from Stanford, however, call for a rigorous scientific exploration of MDMA's effects to identify precisely how the drug works, the data from which could be used to develop therapeutic compounds.

Do you agree that ecstasy should be studied for its potential therapeutic benefits?

More »