A protein that links gluttony and weight gain may be a novel target for antiobesity drugs. Mice lacking this protein can indulge in fatty food but remain as slim as mice on a lower-fat diet, a new study reports. The finding suggests a new avenue to help morbidly obese people lose weight.
When food is scarce, stockpiling energy in fat cells is a survival advantage. But when food is plentiful, as in industrialized countries, genes that promote fat storage lead to obesity (SN: 4/14/01, p. 238: Available to subscribers at Fatty Findings). The molecular mechanisms that translate extra calories into fat deposition are largely unknown.