Metabolic Disease: Study Decoded New Diabetes Genes
More and more people in Germany are diagnosed with diabetes. In addition to lifestyle and environmental factors, various genes are also responsible for the development of the disease. In a recent study, new diabetes genes have been decoded.
More and more diabetics in Germany
"Diabetes mellitus is one of the major widespread diseases in Germany", says the preface to the "German Health Report Diabetes 2018". According to the German Diabetes Society (DDG), around 6.7 million people in Germany are currently suffering from the so-called “diabetes”. While unhealthy diet, lack of exercise and obesity are considered clear risk factors in type 2 diabetes, type 1 diabetes is caused by a misguided immune system response. But certain genes are also responsible for the development of the disease. In a study led by a team from the Helmholtz Zentrum München and the German Center for Diabetes Research (DZD), new diabetes genes have now been decoded. The researchers published their results in the journal "Nature Communications".
Different genes are also responsible for the development of the disease
Both type 1 and type 2 diabetes are responsible for lifestyle and environmental factors as well as many different genes for the development of the disease, according to a message from the Helmholtz Zentrum München.
They provide the blueprints for the individual proteins that have a function in sugar metabolism.
Many genes that play an important role in the development of diseases such as diabetes are still unknown.
Only by deciphering the causes and patterns of origin is it possible to understand the diseases and to intervene therapeutically and preventively.
Newly identified diabetes genes could, for example, be used as biomarkers for individual risk prediction or for diagnosing the disease.
Metabolic functions examined
In this way Prof. Dr. Martin Hrabě de Angelis and his team at the German Mouse Clinic (GMC) at the Institute for Experimental Genetics (IEG) at the Helmholtz Zentrum München have now gone one step further.
As part of the International Mouse Phenotyping Consortium (IMPC), they investigated the metabolic functions of mouse models, each of which lacked a precisely selected gene.
With this method, the researchers tried to find out whether the missing gene is involved in important metabolic processes.
"Our analysis of these phenotyping data identified a total of 974 genes, the loss of which has an impact on sugar and fat metabolism," said Hrabě de Angelis, who led the study.
“For more than a third of the genes, no connection to metabolism was previously known. It is also exciting that different genes can be affected depending on the gender. ”
Certain genes play a role in diabetes
In addition, the researchers report under first author Dr. Jan Rozman, the functions of 51 of the metabolic genes found were previously completely unknown.
In addition, when comparing it with human genome data, it was shown that 23 genes apparently play a role in human diabetes.
One of these genes is C4orf22, which appears to be involved in the effects of insulin in participants in the “Tübingen Family Study (TÜF)” diabetes study. This still has to be shown for the 51 new genes.
"They are new candidate genes, and the new results may be helpful in investigating the cause of disturbed sugar metabolism and diabetes," said Rozman.
Interestingly, the bioinformatician and co-author Dr. Thomas Werner, these genes were similar in their structure: many had common regulatory elements.
The scientists therefore assume that these genes are a network.
In the future, they want to further investigate the insights into these new regulatory structures and explore the extent to which possibilities for predicting gene functions of unknown genes as well as new therapeutic approaches result from the new knowledge. (ad)