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Mawethu Bilibana
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Protein 'switch' could be key to fighting obesity, diabetes.

21 February 2012, 07:10

A study published in the Journal of Biological Chemistry revealed our body have a "fat switch” namely carnitine palmitoyltransferase 1A (CPT 1). CPT1 is the key enzyme that regulates fatty acid oxidation in the liver and is critical for metabolism. So knowing how CPT1 operates will potentially help to better understand how some people appear to have a speedy metabolism and others struggle to curb their appetite also it could be the key to fighting obesity.

The idea is to develop a way to control CPT1. Some will argue why you need control it? the need to control  CPT1 is that it activity determines your weight, and how well you metabolise food. So knowing how CPT1 operates will potentially help to better understand how proteins control appetite or regulate the secretion of insulin. Take that idea further, and scientists should be able to design a drug that moves the CPT1 "switch" where it needs to be, addressing weight or metabolic conditions.

One potential condition this could help: diabetic keto acidosis. This takes place when the body doesn't make enough insulin and breaks down fat instead. A potential drug could reduce the fatty acids CPT1 oxidises.

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