Joslin Researchers Discover New Link Between Obesity and Insulin Resistance
More A Sweet Life Aug 4, 2011, 8:58 am
Obesity is the main culprit in the worldwide avalanche of type 2 diabetes. But how excess weight drives insulin resistance, the condition that may lead to the disease, is only partly understood. Scientists at Joslin Diabetes Center now have uncovered a new way in which obesity wreaks its havoc, by altering the production of proteins that affect how other proteins are spliced together. Their finding, published in Cell Metabolism, may point toward novel targets for diabetes drugs.
Scientists in the lab of Mary-Elizabeth Patti, M.D., began by examining the levels of proteins in the livers of obese people, and finding decreases in number for certain proteins that regulate RNA splicing.
“When a gene is transcribed by the cell, it generates a piece of RNA,” explains Dr. Patti, who is also an Assistant Professor of Medicine at Harvard Medical School. “That piece of RNA can be split up in different ways, generating proteins that have different functions.”
“In the case of these proteins whose production drops in the livers of obese people, this process changes the function of other proteins that can cause excess fat to be made in the liver,” she adds. “That excess fat is known to be a major contributor to insulin resistance.”
Additionally, the researchers showed that these RNA splicing proteins are diminished in samples of muscle from obese people.
The investigators went on to examine a representative RNA-splicing protein called SFRS10 whose levels drop in muscle and
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- Description: Scientists at Joslin Diabetes Center now have uncovered a new way in which obesity wreaks its havoc, by altering the production of proteins that affect how other proteins are spliced together.