The discovery, which will be published in an upcoming issue of the journal Public Library of Science (http://www.plos.org), involves researchers originally from Sweden and France who collaborated at the University of Washington in Seattle.
The gene, on Chromosome 10, was first connected to diabetes in 1991 by Dr. ke Lernmark, R. H. Williams Professor of Medicine and adjunct professor of immunology at the UW. The GAD2 gene is responsible for the protein GAD65, which plays a role in the healthy use of insulin by the body. Lernmark is a native of Sweden, which has one of the highest rates of Type I diabetes incidence in the world.
Lernmark is a native of Sweden, which has one of the highest rates of Type I diabetes incidence in the world. In 1997, Lernmark was joined in his laboratory at the University of Washington by Professor Philippe Froguel as a Poll Visiting Scholar.*
Froguel, senior author of the research, is based at Imperial College London, and Hammersmith Hospital, London, and carried out the research while at the Institut Pasteur de Lille in France. Froguel and colleagues had previously determined that obese people often had genetic variations in Chromosome 10, with individual variations showing up in the GAD2 gene.
During and since the stay at the Lernmark lab, the researchers have collaborated ever since the GAD2 gene was first considered as a candidate obesity gene. The researchers believe that GAD2 produces the protein GAD65 that catalyzes the production of a neurotransmitter in the hypothalamus that stimulates or suppresses appetite.
Lermark says that several years ago, he and his colleagues in Sweden found that some obese people had antibodies to GAD65. This finding remained unexplained, but sparked Froguel's interest when he was searc
Contact: Walter Neary
University of Washington