A potentially critical role played by an unknown gene that is responsible for the regulation of metabolism have been revealed by a supermodel mouse type, that may provide insights into obesity and diabetes.
The Supermodel mouse's phenotype - the physical characteristics that result from its gene makeup - include being very small in size, with an unusual body form caused by abnormal distribution of fat, said Dr. Zhe Chen, Assistant Professor of Biophysics, and Dr. Bruce Beutler, Professor of Immunology, with UT Southwestern's Center for the Genetics of Host Defense. The mouse phenotype is nicknamed "Supermodel."
"This mouse is important because it has revealed a new regulatory protein that's very important for normal metabolism, but was never known to exist before," said Nobel Laureate Dr. Beutler, Director of the Center for the Genetics of Host Defense. "The implications of the work may be felt in and obesity research, the study of wasting in chronic disease, the study of muscle cell function, and perhaps other fields."
"Whereas many heritable obesity phenotypes are known, lean phenotypes are comparatively uncommon. Yet they can reveal critical checkpoints regulating energy balance," the researchers said.