Deficient levels of a protein called transducin β–like 1 (TBL1) may play a role in fatty liver disease, reports a team led by investigators at the University Hospital Heidelberg and the German Cancer Research Center Heidelberg, in Germany (Kulozik P et al. Cell Metab. 2011;13:389-400). TBL1 and a related protein, TBL-related 1 (TBLR1), work together as cofactors to regulate the activity of certain genes.
The researchers showed that mice with fatty liver disease caused by various genetic or dietary factors showed impaired TBL1 activity in the liver. In addition, disrupting TBL1 activity in the liver of lean healthy mice promoted high lipid levels and the buildup of fat in the liver. TBL1 deficiency and the resulting impaired cooperation of the protein with TBLR1 led to an inhibition of fatty acid oxidation.
Hampton T. Fatty Liver Disease. JAMA. 2011;305(21):2162. doi:10.1001/jama.2011.724