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Metabolism: How diet affects energy metabolism

Nature Communications

March 28, 2012

A novel mechanism for explaining how nutrients in the diet affect the energy metabolism in revealed in a paper published in Nature Communications this week. The study, which shows that a specific protein is a nutrient-sensitive regulator of genes involved energy metabolism, could potentially lead to new treatments of metabolic diseases.

Lysine-specific demetyhlase-1 (LSD1) is known to inhibit the activity of genes by chemically modifying DNA-packaging proteins, which makes it more difficult to read out genetic information. A team of Japanese researchers led by Mitsuyoshi Nakao discovered that LSD1 specifically regulates the activity of genes involved in energy and fatty-acid metabolism. They also found that the activity of genes controlled by LSD1 was markedly reduced in fat tissue of obese mice, but could be increased when mice were treated with drugs that inhibit LSD1. The results suggest that this mechanism is involved in the metabolic adaptation of cells in the body to nutrients in the diet.

The authors say that drugs that inhibit LSD1 could be useful for the treatment of metabolic disorders.

doi: 10.1038/ncomms1755

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