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New Signaling Mechanism to Boost Metabolism Discovered

Scientists at DZD partner Helmholtz Zentrum München have discovered a new signaling mechanism for the regulation of energy metabolism in brown adipose tissue.

The protein p62 regulates energy metabolism in brown fat tissue. Source: Timo Müller, Helmholtz Zentrum München

 

In the journal Nature Communications, the team led by PD Dr. Timo Müller, Institute of Diabetes and Obesity at the Helmholtz Diabetes Center, was able to show a new mechanism of how energy consumption in brown adipose tissue is regulated. In contrast to white fat, which stores energy, brown fat specializes in the burning of fat. The scientists describe how a protein called p62 regulates energy consumption in brown adipose tissue.  The malfunction of this mechanism led to massive obesity, glucose intolerance and type 2 diabetes in the animal model. Further studies will now investigate whether this new signalling mechanism can also be used to develop new drugs for the treatment of obesity and type 2 diabetes. Stimulation of brown adipose tissue is considered a pharmacologically interesting target structure for the treatment of obesity. If the "good" brown fat is activated, the metabolism is stimulated and the "bad" white fat pads are reduced. "This could be achieved by specifically stimulating this new signalling mechanism," said Timo Müller. Signalmechanismus der Fall sein“, sagt Timo Müller.

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Original publication:
Katrin Fischer et al.: The scaffold protein p62 regulates adaptive thermogenesis through ATF2 nuclear target activation. Nature Communications 11, 2306 (2020) doi.org/10.1038/s41467-020-16230-8