A new study finds that entirely removing an enzyme that can fight against obesity and type 2 diabetes could lead to other health problems.
The enzyme known as phosphatidic acid phosphatase (PAP) has long been known to help control body fat and therefore could be beneficial in the prevention of type 2 diabetes.
But US researchers say getting rid of PAP completely can raise the risk of developing cancer or other chronic illnesses. They think it is because, without it, cells can grow uncontrollably, which is a characteristic of cancer.
“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. The goal of our lab is to understand how we can tweak and control this enzymen,” said George M. Carma, Rutgers University.
The enzyme’s role helps the body moderate its phosphatidic acid, determining whether it should create fat in cell membranes.
The trial was based upon baker’s yeast because it contains PAP. A specific gene was deleted from the yeast and the results showed the phosphatidic acid levels increased, which led to more membrane lipids being made than was needed.
Since the enzyme was discovered in 1957, it has been the focus of many studies where researchers have looked at its gene encoding and how it is linked to common health problems such as obesity, inflammation and type 2 diabetes.
The Rutgers team plan to investigate PAP some more and see how it can be further controlled.
Professor Carmen added: “The key take-home message is that things have to be balanced. To keep the balance between making storage fat and membrane lipid, you have to have balanced diet.”
The findings of the study have been published in the Journal of Biological Chemistry.
Editor’s note: The study was conducted on yeast and therefore has no relevance currently for humans. However, we know that people can prevent obesity and type 2 diabetes by making healthy lifestyle changes. For more information, join the Low Carb Program and follow the easy, step-by-step guidance towards greater health.

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