New Obesity and Aging Pathway Discovered

A new publication in the prestigious journal Nature shows that inhibiting a specific protein reduces obesity and extends lifespan in mice. The discovery was also featured in a Nature “News and Views” commentary.

The research, from the laboratory of Paul Fox, PhD, showed for the first time that mice with an inactive form of the enzyme glutamyl-prolyl tRNA synthetase (EPRS) have lower fat stores and live longer (more than three months) than wild-type mice—even when they are given a fat-rich diet. 

The researchers found that EPRS is involved with a molecular pathway called mTORC1/S6K1 that regulates cellular metabolism and growth and is thought to play a role in fat storage and aging. mTORC1/S6K1 activates EPRS, triggering a cascade of molecular events that lead to fat accumulation. This previously unknown connection provides a potential target for treatments to combat obesity and aging.

With the global obesity epidemic driving an unprecedented decline in the health of Americans, new therapeutic avenues are urgently needed to combat related diseases such as diabetes, heart disease, and some cancers.

Dr. Fox is a Staff member in Lerner Research Institute’s Department of Cellular and Molecular Medicine and holds the Robert Canova Endowed Chair in Inflammation Research.