Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Why fat cells fail: Mechanism causes fat cells to lose their ability to efficiently store and use energy

Date:
October 4, 2011
Source:
Yale University
Summary:
Yale University researchers have found one of the mechanisms that cause fat cells to lose their ability to efficiently store and use energy -- a scientific mystery and a phenomenon that contributes to a major public health problem.

Yale University researchers have found one of the mechanisms that cause fat cells to lose their ability to efficiently store and use energy -- a scientific mystery and a phenomenon that contributes to a major public health problem.

The Yale team discovered a mechanism that allows cellular fat droplets to expand when excess metabolic energy is present -- i.e., when the body has taken in more food than it can burn off -- helping them to take in fatty acids, the end products of our meals. The obese suffer a myriad of health problems when fat cells can no longer do this job. The scientists report their findings in the Oct. 5 issue of the journal Cell Metabolism.

"Dozens of things go wrong at the same time when cells are overwhelmed by excess fat storage, and the million-dollar question is: Which of these factors cause the breakdown of cellular balance?" said Tobias Walther, associate professor of cell biology and senior author of the study.

Walther's lab and collaborators at the Gladstone Institutes in San Francisco discovered that an enzyme within cells senses tension at the surface of the expanding fat droplets. This triggers the production of more surface components of fat droplets, enabling them to expand and accommodate more fatty acids without adverse consequences. This process is crucial for the fat cells' ability to remain in harmony with their environment.

"Without this mechanism, fat droplets within cells where energy is stored undergo quick expansion and form one big glump," rather than individual droplets, Walther said.

Walther said there are probably many such mechanisms that regulate intake and expenditure of energy as we take in food.

"The cells must balance fluctuations in energy availability, and we are exploring other mechanisms that help maintain this dynamic storage capacity," he said.

"By showing exactly how our cells are supposed to store individual fat molecules, our research offers clues about what happens when things go awry and fat accumulates in the body," said Dr. Robert Farese, Jr. a senior investigator at the Gladstone Institutes.

Other Yale authors are Natalie Krahmer and Florian Wilfling.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by Yale University. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Journal Reference:

  1. Natalie Krahmer, Yi Guo, Florian Wilfling, Maximiliane Hilger, Susanne Lingrell, Klaus Heger, Heather W. Newman, Marc Schmidt-Supprian, Dennis E. Vance, Matthias Mann, Robert V. Farese, Tobias C. Walther. Phosphatidylcholine Synthesis for Lipid Droplet Expansion Is Mediated by Localized Activation of CTP:Phosphocholine Cytidylyltransferase. Cell Metabolism, 2011; 14 (4): 504-515 DOI: 10.1016/j.cmet.2011.07.013

Cite This Page:

Yale University. "Why fat cells fail: Mechanism causes fat cells to lose their ability to efficiently store and use energy." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 4 October 2011. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2011/10/111004123556.htm>.
Yale University. (2011, October 4). Why fat cells fail: Mechanism causes fat cells to lose their ability to efficiently store and use energy. ScienceDaily. Retrieved October 1, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2011/10/111004123556.htm
Yale University. "Why fat cells fail: Mechanism causes fat cells to lose their ability to efficiently store and use energy." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2011/10/111004123556.htm (accessed October 1, 2014).

Share This



More Health & Medicine News

Wednesday, October 1, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Pregnancy Spacing Could Have Big Impact On Autism Risks

Pregnancy Spacing Could Have Big Impact On Autism Risks

Newsy (Oct. 1, 2014) A new study says children born less than one year and more than five years after a sibling can have an increased risk for autism. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Robotic Hair Restoration

Robotic Hair Restoration

Ivanhoe (Oct. 1, 2014) A new robotic procedure is changing the way we transplant hair. The ARTAS robot leaves no linear scarring and provides more natural results. Video provided by Ivanhoe
Powered by NewsLook.com
Insertable Cardiac Monitor

Insertable Cardiac Monitor

Ivanhoe (Oct. 1, 2014) A heart monitor the size of a paperclip that can save your life. The “Reveal Linq” allows a doctor to monitor patients with A-Fib on a continuous basis for up to 3 years! Video provided by Ivanhoe
Powered by NewsLook.com
Attacking Superbugs

Attacking Superbugs

Ivanhoe (Oct. 1, 2014) Two weapons hospitals can use to attack superbugs. Scientists in Ireland created a new gel resistant to superbugs, and a robot that can disinfect a room in minutes. Video provided by Ivanhoe
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:

More Coverage


Experiments Suggest Research Avenues for Treating Excess Fat Storage and Obesity

Oct. 4, 2011 Scientists have begun to unravel the complex process by which cells take in and store microscopic fat molecules, suggesting new directions for further research into solutions for obesity and its ... read more

Strange & Offbeat Stories


Health & Medicine

Mind & Brain

Living & Well

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