With an ever-increasing percentage of the world's population becoming obese, treatments for this condition are desperately needed. Scientists at McGill University in Canada have taken a step toward combating obesity by identifying a protein that can make white fat (a reserve of energy), take on the properties of brown fat (a source of heat generation) (Nature Medicine Vol. 7, No. 10, 01 Oct 2001).
Nahum Sonenberg and colleagues found that mice lacking the gene for the protein 4E-BP1, had less white fat tissue and a higher metabolic rate. They discovered that the white fat present in these mice had taken on the properties normally associated with brown fat, such as dispersed fat droplets within fat cells and increased amounts of the UCP-1 protein which is involved in the production of energy in cells.
Robert Farese & Hubert Chen from the University of California, San Francisco, explain the molecular intricacies of the work and its implications for human energy balance and weight regulation in an accompanying News & Views article.
Dr. Nahum Sonenberg
Department of Biochemistry and McGill Cancer Center
Tel: +1 514 398 7274
Fax: +1 514 398 1287
Drs. Robert V. Farese & Hubert Chen
University of California, San Francisco
Gladstone Institute of Cardiovascular Disease
P.O. Box 419100
San Francisco, CA 94141-9100
Tel: +1 415-695-3759
Fax: +1 415-285-5632
Email Address: firstname.lastname@example.org
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