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Physiol Genomics. 2005 Feb 10;20(3):224-32. Epub 2004 Dec 14.

Microarray gene expression analysis of the Fob3b obesity QTL identifies positional candidate gene Sqle and perturbed cholesterol and glycolysis pathways.

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  • 1Department of Gene Expression, Roslin Institute, Edinburgh, Scotland. jstylian@jax.org


Obesity-related diseases are poised to become the primary cause of death in developed nations. While a number of monogenic causes of obesity have recently been identified, these are responsible for only a small proportion of human cases of obesity. Quantitative trait locus (QTL) studies using animal models have revealed hundreds of potential loci that affect obesity; however, few have been further analyzed beyond the original QTL scan. We previously mapped four QTL in an F(2) between divergently selected Fat (F) and Lean (L) lines. A QTL of large effect on chromosome 15 (Fob3) was subsequently mapped to a higher resolution into two smaller-effect QTL (Fob3a and Fob3b) using crosses between the F-line and a congenic line containing L-line alleles at the Fob3 QTL region. Here we report the gene expression characterization of Fob3b. Microarray expression analysis using the NIA-NIH 15K cDNA array set containing 14,938 mouse ESTs was employed to identify candidate genes and pathways that are differentially expressed between the F-line and a congenic line containing only the Fob3b QTL (Fob3b-line). Our study suggests squalene epoxidase (Sqle), a cholesterol biosynthesis enzyme, as a strong positional candidate gene for Fob3b. Several other cholesterol biosynthesis pathway genes unlinked to Fob3b were found to be differentially expressed, suggesting that a perturbation of this pathway could be in part responsible for the phenotypic difference between the F-line and Fob3b-line mice.

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