Sanford-Burnham researchers show that protein p62 balances metabolism in fat tissue—making it an attractive target for anti-obesity therapies
In many cases, obesity is caused by more than just overeating and a lack of exercise. Something in the body goes haywire, causing it to store more fat and burn less energy. But what is it? Sanford-Burnham researchers have a new theory—a protein called p62. According to a study the team published December 21 in the Journal of Clinical Investigation, when p62 is missing in fat tissue, the body’s metabolic balance shifts—inhibiting “good” brown fat, while favoring “bad” white fat. These findings indicate that p62 might make a promising target for new therapies aimed at curbing obesity.
“Without p62 you’re making lots of fat but not burning energy, and the body thinks it needs to store energy,” said Jorge Moscat, Ph.D., Sanford-Burnham professor. “It’s a double whammy.” Moscat led the study with collaborators at Helmholtz Zentrum München in Germany and the University of Cincinnati.