Scientists shine light on protein linked to fat storage

phys.org | 10/12/2018 | Staff
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In new research that may have implications for strategies fighting obesity and diabetes, UNSW scientists have uncovered the structure of a protein believed to regulate the formation of fat in cells, as well as the formation of fat tissue in animals including humans.

In a study that brought together scientists from UNSW, Tsingshua University, Princeton University and Hebei Medical University (China), the researchers were able to examine the structure of the membrane protein seipin with the use of an electron microscope.

Seipin - Endoplasmic-reticulum - Cells - Researchers - Function

Seipin is integral to the endoplasmic-reticulum in mammalian cells and the researchers believe they discovered a critical function of this protein: to interact with lipids directly.

But more research is needed to find whether the new understanding of the seipin protein can be used to tackle the obesity and diabetes epidemics.

Structure - Part - Seipin - Understanding - Function

"We resolved the structure of part of the seipin that will provide a much better understanding of the function of the protein," UNSW scientist Professor H Robert Yang said.

"We have made a breakthrough, but we don't know about therapeutic applications yet."

Professor - Yang - Seipin - Protein - Curiosity

Professor Yang said the seipin protein is nonetheless of great curiosity because of its role in regulating fat storage.

"Without this protein, you can't form fat. This protein is very interesting in medical terms and basic biology terms. But until now, it has been very hard to study and work with because it is membrane bound," he said.

Professor - Yang - Research

Professor Yang said prior to this latest research, very...
(Excerpt) Read more at: phys.org
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