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ScienceDaily (Oct. 20, 2008) — A group of researchers from the German Institute of Human Nutrition* led by Hadi Al-Hasani and Hans-Georg Joost has identified a natural mutation in the Tbc1d1 gene that keeps mice lean and also protects against diabetes despite a high-fat diet. The researchers were thus able to gain a deep insight into the function of the gene.
Further clarification of its function would provide a basis for developing new approaches for prevention and treatment, as this gene could also be linked to obesity and diabetes in humans.
The mutation that knocks out the Tbc1d1 gene causes increased fat uptake in skeletal muscle and, at the same time, boosts fat oxidation. On the other hand, glucose uptake of muscles is reduced. “This shows that the normal Tbc1d1 gene has a very important function in fat and glucose metabolism and therefore plays an essential role in regulation of energy metabolism“, explains Hadi Al-Hasani.