Olfactory receptor genes cooperate with protocadherin genes in human extreme obesity

E.C. Mariman*, R. Szklarczyk, F.G. Bouwman, E. Erik Aller, M.A. van Baak, P. Wang

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review


Worldwide, the incidence of obesity has increased dramatically over the past decades. More knowledge about the complex etiology of obesity is needed in order to find additional approaches for treatment and prevention. Investigating the exome sequencing data of 30 extremely obese subjects (BMI 45-65 kg/m(2)) shows that predicted damaging missense variants in olfactory receptor genes on chromosome 1q and rare predicted damaging variants in the protocadherin (PCDH) beta-cluster genes on chromosome 5q31, reported in our previous work, co-localize in subjects with extreme obesity. This implies a synergistic effect between genetic variation in these gene clusters in the predisposition to extreme obesity. Evidence for a general involvement of the olfactory transduction pathway on itself could not be found. Bioinformatic analysis indicates a specific involvement of the PCDH beta-cluster genes in controlling tissue development. Further mechanistic insight needs to await the identification of the ligands of the 1q olfactory receptors. Eventually, this may provide the possibility to manipulate food flavor in a way to reduce the risk of overeating and of extreme obesity in genetically predisposed subjects.
Original languageEnglish
Article number16
Number of pages12
JournalGenes and nutrition
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - Jul 2015


  • Extreme obesity
  • Genetic predisposition
  • Olfactory system
  • Protocadherins
  • RISK
  • LOCI

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