Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

UT Southwestern Team Isolates Key Protein In Transforming Excess Glucose Into Fat

Date:
August 1, 2001
Source:
University Of Texas Southwestern Medical Center At Dallas
Summary:
A biochemistry team from the Department of Veterans Affairs and UT Southwestern Medical Center at Dallas has identified a glucose-sensitive protein that translates excessively high-carbohydrate intake into body fat, especially when combined with a sedentary lifestyle.

DALLAS - July 31, 2001 - A biochemistry team from the Department of Veterans Affairs and UT Southwestern Medical Center at Dallas has identified a glucose-sensitive protein that translates excessively high-carbohydrate intake into body fat, especially when combined with a sedentary lifestyle.

Related Articles


"Once upon a time, we thought hormones directed this long-term control of metabolism. Turns out, diet also plays a major role," said Dr. Kosaku "Ko" Uyeda, a UT Southwestern professor of biochemistry and research career scientist at the Dallas Veterans Affairs Medical Center.

Uyeda and his UT Southwestern colleagues reported in today's issue of the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences that they isolated the glucose-sensitive protein, dubbed the carbohydrate response element-binding protein (ChREBP), that triggers the long-term process of transforming excess dietary carbohydrates into fat. They used rat livers in their study, but the results are believed to reflect the human body's functions.

When people eat desserts, pasta, potatoes or other sugar- and starch-laden foods beyond the body's energy and nutritional needs, these carbohydrates become a flood of glucose, and the liver converts the surplus glucose to fat, Uyeda said.

At some point, the glucose reaches a level that signals the ChRE-binding protein to start a chain-reaction along a series of genes that, in turn, activate the synthesis of a dozen enzymes that catalyze the transformation of the excess glucose into fat to be stored in the body, he said.

"Eventually, from this line of ongoing research, it should be feasible to design a drug that will inhibit the protein's response to excess glucose and may enable us to eat all the carbohydrates we want, without getting fat," Uyeda said. "The drug would be able to slow the conversion of carbohydrates to fat, perhaps matching the body's needs. Hopefully, the body would be able to excrete or burn the excess glucose."

Identifying the protein itself was a breakthrough, but Uyeda said the lab work also revealed how this protein factor binds to a specific gene's DNA and how hormones and glucose control the gene's biological activity.

"Several proteins bind to the glucose-response site in the DNA. However, all but one appear to have no direct response to glucose," he said. "The newly identified protein appears to be the main factor. It may be the universal factor in activating other genes to respond to the glucose signal."

Uyeda and his team worked continuous laboratory shifts for about four years to track down, isolate, identify and confirm this specialized, but illusive, protein from among many similar proteins and enzymes that operate in the liver. Three scientists at San Francisco-based Genentech also assisted on the project.

After isolating the protein in rats' livers, the researchers turned to Genentech to enlist one of only two mass-spectrometer labs in the nation that could analyze the protein substances at microscopic levels, Uyeda said. His team then had to run a number of tests on the protein in the liver cells to confirm its glucose-driven response at the biochemical and genetic levels, he said.

The study is an ongoing part of Uyeda's work of more than 30 years. His current goal is to explain how the body transforms and stores carbohydrates as fat.

Other UT Southwestern colleagues in the project were biochemists Drs. Hiromi Yamashita, Makoto Takenoshita and Masaharu Sakurai, all of whom have returned to Japan, and Richard Bruick, a current research fellow in biochemistry.

The VA and the National Institutes of Health funded the study.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by University Of Texas Southwestern Medical Center At Dallas. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Cite This Page:

University Of Texas Southwestern Medical Center At Dallas. "UT Southwestern Team Isolates Key Protein In Transforming Excess Glucose Into Fat." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 1 August 2001. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2001/08/010801081917.htm>.
University Of Texas Southwestern Medical Center At Dallas. (2001, August 1). UT Southwestern Team Isolates Key Protein In Transforming Excess Glucose Into Fat. ScienceDaily. Retrieved November 27, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2001/08/010801081917.htm
University Of Texas Southwestern Medical Center At Dallas. "UT Southwestern Team Isolates Key Protein In Transforming Excess Glucose Into Fat." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2001/08/010801081917.htm (accessed November 27, 2014).

Share This


More From ScienceDaily



More Matter & Energy News

Thursday, November 27, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

NASA's First 3-D Printer In Space Creates Its First Object

NASA's First 3-D Printer In Space Creates Its First Object

Newsy (Nov. 26, 2014) The International Space Station is now using a proof-of-concept 3D printer to test additive printing in a weightless, isolated environment. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Bolivian Recycling Initiative Turns Plastic Waste Into School Furniture

Bolivian Recycling Initiative Turns Plastic Waste Into School Furniture

Reuters - Innovations Video Online (Nov. 26, 2014) Innovative recycling project in La Paz separates city waste and converts plastic garbage into school furniture made from 'plastiwood'. Tara Cleary reports. Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com
Blu-Ray Discs Getting Second Run As Solar Panels

Blu-Ray Discs Getting Second Run As Solar Panels

Newsy (Nov. 26, 2014) Researchers at Northwestern University are repurposing Blu-ray movies for better solar panel technology thanks to the discs' internal structures. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Today's Prostheses Are More Capable Than Ever

Today's Prostheses Are More Capable Than Ever

Newsy (Nov. 26, 2014) Advances in prosthetics are making replacement body parts stronger and more lifelike than they’ve ever been. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:

Breaking News:

Strange & Offbeat Stories


Space & Time

Matter & Energy

Computers & Math

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile: iPhone Android Web
Follow: Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe: RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins