Changes in gene expression associated with FTO overexpression in mice.
Merkestein M., McTaggart JS., Lee S., Kramer HB., McMurray F., Lafond M., Boutens L., Cox R., Ashcroft FM.
Single nucleotide polymorphisms in the first intron of the fat-mass-and-obesity-related gene FTO are associated with increased body weight and adiposity. Increased expression of FTO is likely underlying this obesity phenotype, as mice with two additional copies of Fto (FTO-4 mice) exhibit increased adiposity and are hyperphagic. FTO is a demethylase of single stranded DNA and RNA, and one of its targets is the m6A modification in RNA, which might play a role in the regulation of gene expression. In this study, we aimed to examine the changes in gene expression that occur in FTO-4 mice in order to gain more insight into the underlying mechanisms by which FTO influences body weight and adiposity. Our results indicate an upregulation of anabolic pathways and a downregulation of catabolic pathways in FTO-4 mice. Interestingly, although genes involved in methylation were differentially regulated in skeletal muscle of FTO-4 mice, no effect of FTO overexpression on m6A methylation of total mRNA was detected.