Overexpression of Fto leads to increased food intake and results in obesity.
Church C., Moir L., McMurray F., Girard C., Banks GT., Teboul L., Wells S., Brüning JC., Nolan PM., Ashcroft FM., Cox RD.
Genome-wide association studies have identified SNPs within FTO, the human fat mass and obesity-associated gene, that are strongly associated with obesity. Individuals homozygous for the at-risk rs9939609 A allele weigh, on average, ~3 kg more than individuals with the low-risk T allele. Mice that lack FTO function and/or Fto expression display increased energy expenditure and a lean phenotype. We show here that ubiquitous overexpression of Fto leads to a dose-dependent increase in body and fat mass, irrespective of whether mice are fed a standard or a high-fat diet. Our results suggest that increased body mass results primarily from increased food intake. Mice with increased Fto expression on a high-fat diet develop glucose intolerance. This study provides the first direct evidence that increased Fto expression causes obesity in mice.