Originally reported in The Forefront (9/7/2021)

A study led by researchers at the University of Chicago and Indiana University has determined that a protein called elF5A is necessary for driving inflammation in macrophage cells in obesity. Blocking DHPS, the enzyme that modifies and activates elF5A, led to reduced inflammation and improved glucose control in mice. The study was published on September 7 in Cell Metabolism.

DHPS is a conserved protein, meaning that it is found in many different animal species from bacteria to humans. It has mostly been studied in yeast and other cultured cells. While the lab of Raghu Mimira, MD, PhD, has studied DHPS for years, little was known about its role in inflammation or obesity. “When I joined the lab as a postdoc, I was interested to see if the DHS pathway could be a common thread promoting inflammation both in the pancreas, as Dr. Mirmira’s lab had shown, and in the setting of adipose tissue meta-inflammation,” said Emily Anderson-Baucum, PhD, a former postdoctoral scholar at Indiana University.