Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

'Supermodel' mouse reveals mechanisms that regulate metabolism

Date:
May 20, 2014
Source:
UT Southwestern Medical Center
Summary:
A lean “Supermodel” mouse type has revealed the potentially critical role played by a largely unknown gene that regulates metabolism, findings that could provide new insight into diseases ranging from diabetes to obesity. 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.

Dr. Bruce Beutler is a Professor of Immunology at the University of Texas Southwestern Center for the Genetics of Host Defense.
Credit: UT Southwestern

A lean "Supermodel" mouse type has revealed the potentially critical role played by a largely unknown gene that regulates metabolism, findings that could provide new insight into diseases ranging from diabetes to obesity, a new study by UT Southwestern Medical Center researchers suggests.

Related Articles


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 diabetes and obesity research, the study of wasting in chronic disease, the study of muscle cell function, and perhaps other fields."

While at the Scripps Research Institute, Dr. Beutler developed a mouse mutagenesis program, which at UT Southwestern has become the largest and most technologically advanced in the world. The new mouse phenotype was discovered in the lab's colony of mutant mice several years ago, but the mutation was discovered and studied entirely at UT Southwestern, in a collaboration that also involved researchers Dr. William Holland, Assistant Professor of Internal Medicine, Dr. Aktar Ali, Assistant Professor of Internal Medicine, and John Shelton, lab manager in Internal Medicine. Together, they found that a mutation in a gene called Samd4, about which almost nothing was known in mammals, results in the abnormally lean mice, which also have diminished insulin responses to glucose and arginine.

"Whereas many heritable obesity phenotypes are known, lean phenotypes are comparatively uncommon. Yet they can reveal critical checkpoints regulating energy balance," the researchers said.

The mice seem to waste energy, consuming excessive oxygen and producing a commensurately higher amount of CO2, despite being relatively inactive. Much of the fat in these mice seems to be abnormal, similar to "brown fat" of hibernating species.

The findings, appearing in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, may be explained by the apparent involvement of Sterile alpha motif domain containing protein 4 (Samd4) in a specific cell signaling pathway, which tell cells how to interact, called mTORC1. mTORC1 is a master regulatory complex that governs aspects of energy balance, including metabolism, development, autophagy (cell recycling), and other processes in cells.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by UT Southwestern Medical Center. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Journal Reference:

  1. Z. Chen, W. Holland, J. M. Shelton, A. Ali, X. Zhan, S. Won, W. Tomisato, C. Liu, X. Li, E. M. Y. Moresco, B. Beutler. Mutation of mouse Samd4 causes leanness, myopathy, uncoupled mitochondrial respiration, and dysregulated mTORC1 signaling. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, 2014; 111 (20): 7367 DOI: 10.1073/pnas.1406511111

Cite This Page:

UT Southwestern Medical Center. "'Supermodel' mouse reveals mechanisms that regulate metabolism." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 20 May 2014. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2014/05/140520152947.htm>.
UT Southwestern Medical Center. (2014, May 20). 'Supermodel' mouse reveals mechanisms that regulate metabolism. ScienceDaily. Retrieved November 24, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2014/05/140520152947.htm
UT Southwestern Medical Center. "'Supermodel' mouse reveals mechanisms that regulate metabolism." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2014/05/140520152947.htm (accessed November 24, 2014).

Share This


More From ScienceDaily



More Plants & Animals News

Monday, November 24, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Ebola-Hit Sierra Leone's Late Cocoa Leaves Bitter Taste

Ebola-Hit Sierra Leone's Late Cocoa Leaves Bitter Taste

AFP (Nov. 23, 2014) The arable district of Kenema in Sierra Leone -- at the centre of the Ebola outbreak in May -- has been under quarantine for three months as the cocoa harvest comes in. Duration: 01:32 Video provided by AFP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Anglerfish Rarely Seen In Its Habitat Will Haunt You

Anglerfish Rarely Seen In Its Habitat Will Haunt You

Newsy (Nov. 22, 2014) For the first time Monterey Bay Aquarium recorded a video of the elusive, creepy and rarely seen anglerfish. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Birds Around the World Take Flight

Birds Around the World Take Flight

Reuters - Light News Video Online (Nov. 22, 2014) An imperial eagle equipped with a camera spreads its wings over London. It's just one of the many birds making headlines in this week's "animal roundup". Jillian Kitchener reports. Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com
Could Your Genes Be The Reason You're Single?

Could Your Genes Be The Reason You're Single?

Newsy (Nov. 21, 2014) Researchers in Beijing discovered a gene called 5-HTA1, and carriers are reportedly 20 percent more likely to be single. 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


Plants & Animals

Earth & Climate

Fossils & Ruins

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