Network Analysis of Metabolite GWAS Hits: Implication of CPS1 and the Urea Cycle in Weight Maintenance

Alice Matone, Marie-Pier Scott-Boyer, Jerome Carayol, Parastoo Fazelzadeh, Gregory Lefebvre, Armand Valsesia, Celine Charon, Jacques Vervoort, Arne Astrup, Wim H. M. Saris, Melissa Morine, Joerg Hager*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review


Background and Scope Weight loss success is dependent on the ability to refrain from regaining the lost weight in time. This feature was shown to be largely variable among individuals, and these differences, with their underlying molecular processes, are diverse and not completely elucidated. Altered plasma metabolites concentration could partly explain weight loss maintenance mechanisms. In the present work, a systems biology approach has been applied to investigate the potential mechanisms involved in weight loss maintenance within the Diogenes weight-loss intervention study. Methods and Results A genome wide association study identified SNPs associated with plasma glycine levels within the CPS1 (Carbamoyl-Phosphate Synthase 1) gene (rs10206976, p-value = 4.709e-11 and rs12613336, p-value = 1.368e-08). Furthermore, gene expression in the adipose tissue showed that CPS1 expression levels were associated with successful weight maintenance and with several SNPs within CPS1 (cis-eQTL). In order to contextualize these results, a gene-metabolite interaction network of CPS1 and glycine has been built and analyzed, showing functional enrichment in genes involved in lipid metabolism and one carbon pool by folate pathways. Conclusions CPS1 is the rate-limiting enzyme for the urea cycle, catalyzing carbamoyl phosphate from ammonia and bicarbonate in the mitochondria. Glycine and CPS1 are connected through the one-carbon pool by the folate pathway and the urea cycle. Furthermore, glycine could be linked to metabolic health and insulin sensitivity through the betaine osmolyte. These considerations, and the results from the present study, highlight a possible role of CPS1 and related pathways in weight loss maintenance, suggesting that it might be partly genetically determined in humans.
Original languageEnglish
Article numbere0150495
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - 3 Mar 2016


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