Monday, 23 April 2012

Master Regulatory Gene In Fat Tissues

Leni Kosasih - 42771207

Fat has been a major problem in metabolic diseases, such as diabetes and heart diseases (ScienceDaily 2011). A team of researchers from King’s College London, University of Oxford, the Wellcome Trust Sanger Institute and the University of Geneva have been studying how changes in the regulatory gene activity affect the other genes’ activities (NHS Choices 2011). 

Transcription of DNA involves cis-regulatory, which is defined as the binding sites that allow proteins to bind with and initiate transcription process to occur, and trans-regulatory, which is DNA sequence that contain a gene encoding for protein that can regulate other genes in distant (McClean 1998). Previous studies has linked KLF14 gene, which is associated with metabolic phenotypes, with type 2 diabetes and high density lipoprotein cholesterol, but it has recently been found that it is also a master gene that regulates other genes found in fat tissues (Kaiser 2011; ScienceDaily 2011). 

A few experiments have been done by observing the biopsies of over 20,000 genes of fat under the skin from 800 female twin volunteers in the United Kingdom and biopsies of 600 samples of subcutaneous fat from icelandic women, in which the results obtained have shown a relation between KLF14 gene with the expression level of other distant genes in fat tissues (Kaiser 2011; ScienceDaily 2011). Researchers  measured the activities of the other genes in fat cells by testing the association of a genetic variation near KLF14 gene, called single-nucleotide polymorphism rs4731702, with KLF14 gene and discovered that the association has caused the other distant genes in fat cells to be trans regulated by KLF14 gene (Kaiser 2011; NHS Choices 2011; ScienceDaily 2011). 10 of the genes that are being trans regulated by KLF14 gene is focused in the study and it is found that six of the genes are associated with cholesterol levels, five with insulin levels, four with insulin activity in blood sugar regulation and two with glucose level in blood (Kaiser 2011; Bryon 2011; NHS Choices 2011).

The discovery of the influence of KLF14 gene trans regulation on adipose gene expression has revealed new biological link between the previous and newly identified genome associations, and it might be the breakthrough for future treatment in metabolic diseases (Kaiser 2011; ScienceDaily 2011). It has also shown that a change in DNA sequence near one gene, in this case is KLF14 gene, can affect the activities of the other distant genes (NHS Choice 2011). The current study did not involve genes from obese people, thus further study is still required to understand the process of KLF14 gene trans regulation and its association with other genes to improve the treatments for metabolic diseases (Bryon 2011).

-          Kaiser, C 2011, ‘Master gene’ controls fat metabolism, viewed 17 March 2012, <>.
-          ScienceDaily 2011, ‘Master switch’ gene for obesity and diabetes discovered, viewed 17 March 2012, <>.
-          NHS Choices 2011, ‘Master switch gene for obesity’, viewed 17 March 2012, <>.
-          Bryon, K 2011, Scientists uncover ’key gene’ linked to regulation of body fat, viewed 17 March 2012, <>.
-          McClean, P 1998, Trans-acting factors control gene expression, viewed 17 March 2012, <>.

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