Different enzymes have different roles within the body. While we were already aware that phosphatidic acid phosphate has a vital role in regulating the amount of fat within the body, scientists have now found that it also has close links to diseases such as cancer and diabetes. During a recent study, it’s come to light that by eradicating this enzyme can increase the risk of cancer, diabetes, inflammation and more and could be the answer we’re looking for when it comes to finding a cure for these conditions.

Fat is stored in lipid droplets (bright green spots) in yeast cells, which is analogous to how fat is stored in human tissue. Gil-Soo Han/Rutgers University-New Brunswick

“The goal of our lab is to understand how we can tweak and control this enzyme,” confirmed George M. Carman, Board of Governors professor in the Department of Food Science in the School of Environmental and Biological Sciences. “For years, we have been trying to find out how to fine-tune the enzyme’s activity so it’s not too active, and creating too much fat, but it’s active enough to keep the body healthy.” Researchers discovered the enzyme back in 1957. Then, in 2006, Gil-Soo Han, research assistant professor in the Rutgers Center for Lipid Research discovered the gene that encodes phosphatidic acid phosphate.

This enzyme has the critical role of regulating fat within the body and has to determine whether the body’ phosphatidic acid will be used to create lipids in the cell membrane or used to create fat instead. During the 2006 study, Han used baker’s yeast to model the organism as it too contains this enzyme. Han eliminated the enzyme by deleting a particular gene in the yeast. In doing so, phosphatidic acid accumulated and cells began to produce an excess of membrane lipids.

“We have found that may be a more critical role for an enzyme is to make sure that cells are not making too much membrane lipid,” said Carman. “If you make too much membrane lipid, you make too much membrane, and the cells are permitted to grow uncontrollably, a condition characteristic of cancer.” Since discovering the gene responsible for encoding the enzyme, worldwide studies have been conducted in its association with obesity, inflammation, diabetes, lipodystrophy, as well as other conditions.

More News to Read