Warwick scientists discover how cells respond to fasting

May 26, 2020

As modern life-styles and high calorie diets drive the UK's obesity levels up, researchers from the University of Warwick have found how cells respond to fasting and activate the process called autophagy, which means a healthier lifestyle can be promoted to help people maintain a healthy body weight.

The UK has the highest level of obesity in Western Europe, with its levels having more than trebled in the last 30 years, it is estimated that more than half of the population could be obese by 2050 in UK. Obesity is a significant risk factor for increased morbidity and mortality. The cause of the rapid rise in obesity has been blamed on modern lifestyles, including high-calorie diet.

Intermittent fasting, alternate-day fasting, and other forms of periodic caloric restriction are beneficial to maintain a healthy body weight and have gained popularity during the last few years. To respond to fasting, cells use autophagy, a cellular self-recycling process.

A team of researchers led by Professor Ioannis Nezis from the School of Life Sciences, University of Warwick, discovered how cells activate autophagy genes during fasting. In the paper titled 'Regulation of expression of autophagy genes by Atg8a-interacting partners Sequoia, YL-1 and Sir2 in Drosophila', published in the journal Cell Reports on the 26th May, Dr Anne-Claire Jacomin, Dr Stavroula Petridi, PhD student Marisa Di Monaco and Professor Ioannis Nezis have discovered proteins which are required for the transcription of autophagy genes.

The proteins are called Sequoia, YL-1 and Sir2, these proteins interact with the cytoplasmic autophagy-related protein Atg8a. These interactions recruit Atg8a in the nucleus to control the transcription of autophagy genes. This is the first study that uncovers a nuclear role of the cytoplasmic protein Atg8a.

Lead author of the research Professor Ioannis Nezis, from the School of Life Sciences at the University of Warwick, comments:

"Understanding the molecular mechanisms of activation of autophagy genes during fasting will help us to use interventions to activate the autophagic pathways to maintain a normal body weight and promote healthy well-being."
-end-
NOTES TO EDITORS

High-res images available credit to the University of Warwick at:

https://warwick.ac.uk/services/communications/medialibrary/images/april2020/picture1_jpeg.jpg

Caption: Cells expressing GFP-Sequoia-LIR mutant (green nuclei) activate autophagy (shown by red puncta)

For previous research of Nezis' group see https://warwick.ac.uk/newsandevents/pressreleases/colon_cancer_breakthrough , https://warwick.ac.uk/newsandevents/pressreleases/salmonella_could_be

The paper 'Regulation of expression of autophagy genes by Atg8a-interacting partners Sequoia, YL-1 and Sir2 in Drosophila' by Anne-Claire Jacomin, Stavroula Petridi, Marisa Di Monaco, Zambarlal Bhujabal, Ashish Jain, Nitha Mulakkal, Anthimi Palara, Emma L. Powell, Bonita Chung, Cleidi Zampronio, Alexandra Jones, Alexander Cameron, Terje Johansen and Ioannis P. Nezis is published in Cell Reports on 26/05/2020 and is available to view at: https://doi.org/10.1016/j.celrep.2020.107695

It is funded by the Biotechnology and Biological Sciences Research Council, LeverhulmeTrust and Midlands Integrative Biosciences Training Partnership.

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION PLEASE CONTACT:

Alice Scott
Media Relations Manager - Science
University of Warwick
Tel: +44 (0) 7920 531 221
E-mail: alice.j.scott@warwick.ac.uk

University of Warwick

Related Obesity Articles from Brightsurf:

11 years of data add to the evidence for using testosterone therapy to treat obesity, including as an alternative to obesity surgery
New research covering 11 years of data presented at this year's European and International Congress on Obesity (ECOICO 2020) show that, in obese men suffering from hypogonadism (low testosterone), treatment with testosterone injections lowers their weight and improves a wide range of other metabolic parameters.

Overlap between immunology of COVID-19 and obesity could explain the increased risk of death in people living with obesity, and also older patients
Data presented in a special COVID-19 session at the European and International Congress on Obesity (ECOICO 2020) suggests that there are overlaps between the immunological disturbances found in both COVID-19 disease and patients with obesity, which could explain the increased disease severity and mortality risk faced by obese patients, and also elderly patients, who are infected by the SARS-CoV-2 virus that causes COVID-19 disease.

New obesity guideline: Address root causes as foundation of obesity management
besity management should focus on outcomes that patients consider to be important, not weight loss alone, and include a holistic approach that addresses the root causes of obesity, according to a new clinical practice guideline published in CMAJ (Canadian Medical Association Journal) http://www.cmaj.ca/lookup/doi/10.1503/cmaj.191707.

Changing the debate around obesity
The UK's National Health Service (NHS) needs to do more to address the ingrained stigma and discrimination faced by people with obesity, says a leading health psychologist.

Study links longer exposure to obesity and earlier development of obesity to increased risk of type 2 diabetes
Cumulative exposure to obesity could be at least as important as actually being obese in terms of risk of developing type 2 diabetes (T2D), concludes new research published in Diabetologia (the journal of the European Association for the Study of Diabetes [EASD]).

How much do obesity and addictions overlap?
A large analysis of personality studies has found that people with obesity behave somewhat like people with addictions to alcohol or drugs.

Should obesity be recognized as a disease?
With obesity now affecting almost a third (29%) of the population in England, and expected to rise to 35% by 2030, should we now recognize it as a disease?

Is obesity associated with risk of pediatric MS?
A single-center study of 453 children in Germany with multiple sclerosis (MS) investigated the association of obesity with pediatric MS risk and with the response of first-line therapy in children with MS.

Women with obesity prior to conception are more likely to have children with obesity
A systematic review and meta-analysis identified significantly increased odds of child obesity when mothers have obesity before conception, according to a study published June 11, 2019 in the open-access journal PLOS Medicine by Nicola Heslehurst of Newcastle University in the UK, and colleagues.

Obesity medicine association announces major updates to its adult obesity algorithm
The Obesity Medicine Association (OMA) announced the immediate availability of the 2019 OMA Adult Obesity Algorithm, with new information for clinicians including the relationship between Obesity and Cardiovascular Disease, Diabetes Mellitus, Dyslipidemia, and Cancer; information on investigational Anti-Obesity Pharmacotherapy; treatments for Lipodystrophy; and Pharmacokinetics and Obesity.

Read More: Obesity News and Obesity Current Events
Brightsurf.com is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to Amazon.com.