Scientists have succeeded in identifying an on-off switch that helps burn excess body fat.
A protein called GRB10 has
been found by scientists to serve as an on-off stitch for MTORC1 signalling and
the "beigeing" of fat.
The researchers led
by the School of Medicine at the University of Texas Health Science Center at
San Antonio have also located a molecular pathway that regulates the conversion
of unhealthy white fat into fat-burning beige fat.
Cold stress stimulates GRB10, which causes the body to burn energy, researchers
"We know that
if we want to keep our body lean, we have to get rid of extra nutrients in the
body, which means burning more energy," said senior author Feng Liu,
professor of Pharmacology at the UT Health Science Center and director of the
Metabolic Syndrome Research Center at Xiangya Second Hospital, Central South
University, in Changsha, China.
"Understanding how beigeing is
controlled is so very important because if we can improve energy expenditure,
we can reduce obesity," added Liu.
controllers of energy metabolism are adipose (fat) tissues which are classified
as white adipose tissue and brown adipose tissue.
Failure to burn
white adipose tissue through exercises and/or other fat-burning methods leads
to obesity and other metabolic diseases, such as diabetes type II.
"So finding a
way to turn the white fat into beige and burn the energy that normally we store
would have high therapeutic potential for the treatment of obesity and its
related diseases. Dr liu has identified the pathway to do this," said
co-author Lily Dong, professor of Cellular and Structural Biology at the UT Health
The MTORC1 pathway
also is responsible for aging, heart disease and cancer, and so identifying
GRB10, the regulator of this pathway, should be very informative for researching
other fields, Liu told.
The study is
published in the journal 'Cell Metabolism.'