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Nat Genet. 2001 Jan;27(1):40-7.

A biochemical function for attractin in agouti-induced pigmentation and obesity.

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  • 1Departments of Pediatric, Stanford University School of Medicine, Stanford, California, USA.


Agouti protein, a paracrine signaling molecule normally limited to skin, is ectopically expressed in lethal yellow (A(y)) mice, and causes obesity by mimicking agouti-related protein (Agrp), found primarily in the hypothalamus. Mouse attractin (Atrn) is a widely expressed transmembrane protein whose loss of function in mahogany (Atrn(mg-3J)/ Atrn(mg-3J)) mutant mice blocks the pleiotropic effects of A(y). Here we demonstrate in transgenic, biochemical and genetic-interaction experiments that attractin is a low-affinity receptor for agouti protein, but not Agrp, in vitro and in vivo. Additional histopathologic abnormalities in Atrn(mg-3J)/Atrn(mg-3J) mice and cross-species genomic comparisons indicate that Atrn has multiple functions distinct from both a physiologic and an evolutionary perspective.

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