The cilium: a cellular antenna with an influence on obesity risk

Edwin Mariman, Roel Vink, Nadia Roumans, Freek Bouwman, Constance Stumpel, Erik Aller, Marleen van Baak, Ping Wang

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

Abstract

Primary cilia are organelles that are present on many different cell types, either transiently or permanently. They play a crucial role in receiving signals from the environment and passing these signals to other parts of the cell. In that way, they are involved in diverse processes such as adipocyte differentiation and olfactory sensation. Mutations in genes coding for ciliary proteins often have pleiotropic effects and lead to clinical conditions, ciliopathies, with multiple symptoms. In this study, we reviewed observations from ciliopathies with obesity as one of the symptoms. It shows that variation in cilia-related genes is itself not a major cause of obesity in the population but may be a part of the multifactorial aetiology of this complex condition. Both common polymorphisms and rare deleterious variants may contribute to the obesity risk. Genotype-phenotype relationships have been noticed. Among the ciliary genes, obesity differs with regard to severity and age of onset, which may relate to the influence of each gene on the balance between pro-and anti-adipogenic processes. Analysis of the function and location of the proteins encoded by these ciliary genes suggests that obesity is more linked to activities at the basal area of the cilium, including initiation of the intraflagellar transport, but less to the intraflagellar transport itself. Regarding the role of cilia, three possible mechanistic processes underlying obesity are described: adipogenesis, neuronal food intake regulation and food odour perception.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)576-592
Number of pages17
JournalBritish Journal of Nutrition
Volume116
Issue number4
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 28 Aug 2016

Keywords

  • Obesity
  • Primary cilia
  • Adipocyte differentiation
  • Food odour sensation
  • Food intake regulation
  • BARDET-BIEDL-SYNDROME
  • CILIARY PROTEIN TRAFFICKING
  • SYNDROME JOUBERT-SYNDROME
  • MECKEL-GRUBER-SYNDROME
  • DIET-INDUCED OBESITY
  • E3 UBIQUITIN LIGASE
  • INTRAFLAGELLAR TRANSPORT
  • TRANSITION ZONE
  • OLFACTORY CILIA
  • LEPTIN RESISTANCE

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