Narrator: This is Science Today. It's widely known that type 2 diabetes is directly linked to a high-fat diet and obesity, but just how and why has not been so clear. Now, researchers at the University of California , San Diego School of Medicine have discovered a molecular link. Dr. Jamey Marth, who led the study, says the link is a single gene that encodes an enzyme called GnT-4a, which enables pancreatic beta cells to sense blood glucose levels and produce the appropriate amount of insulin.
Marth: We were wondering whether or not this gene might be regulated by diet, because if it was regulated by diet, one might imagine that diet could either increase the amount of gene expression or decrease it. And if it decreased it, that could have an impact on the emergence of diabetes.
Narrator: In fact, in mice studies, Marth found that a high-fat diet suppressed this enzyme, resulting in diabetes.
Marth: What we think we might have uncovered here is the mechanistic explanation for how the disease occurs.
Narrator: For Science Today, I'm Larissa Branin.