Obesity has become one of the leading causes of a varied kind of diseases, including chronic diseases such as diabetes, hypertension and cardiac diseases. Latest research has discovered a specific kind of RNA that triggers obesity. The same RNA is also responsible for triggering Type II diabetes. Although a previous research conduced in Europe identified FTO gene that was the cause of these two chronic problems, the new research is unique because it unveils details about the cellular functioning and physiological factors that contribute to obesity and type II diabetes.
The present study has been conducted by researchers of the University of Chicago. The team is lead by Chuan He, a professor of chemistry. The team has showed that RNA is reversible by a specific modification process, which can be started and propagated by FTO protein. The process of reversing RNA under highly secure medical conditions is called methylation. It makes an impact on the expression of proteins by influencing the function of adenosine, which is a RNA base. By adding or deleting methyl groups from adenosine, the process can be reversed. According to the current research, FTO proteins can be used to modify or remove methyl group from adenosine. This is a ground breaking research and first of its kind in genetic reversal of a specific RNA.
Stephen O’Rahilly, director of the metabolic research laboratories and clinical biochemistry professor said that the research has given new scope for solving chronic problems such as Type II diabetes and obesity. He said that the present study has provided a more profound understanding about the functioning of FTO. The professor is a leading researcher of FTO, although he is not a part of the present research team.
Researches have shown that FTO variants play an important role in manipulating body weight. The knowledge, however, has been limited to this aspect. The present study has provided a deeper understanding about the role FTA plays in regulating weight of the body. FTO proteins are responsible for the removal of groups of methyl from nucleic acids. However, it has been found that FTO is responsible on only a particular type of RNA methylation. Around half a dozen methyl groups are present on every adenosine RNA. Although their importance is regulating weight was known, there was no scientific evidence about their physiological function. The research carried on by He and his team has provided an insight into this missing link.