Identification of three novel genetic variants in the melanocortin-3 receptor of obese children
Faculty of Medicine and Health Sciences
Faculty of Pharmaceutical, Biomedical and Veterinary Sciences . Biomedical Sciences
Silver Spring, Md
Obesity. - Silver Spring, Md
, p. 152-159
University of Antwerp
The melanocortin-3 receptor (MC3R), a G-protein-coupled receptor expressed in the hypothalamus, is a key component of the leptinmelanocortin pathway that regulates energy homeostasis. It is suggested that an MC3R defect leads to an increased feed efficiency, by which nutrients are partitioned preferentially into fat. In this study, we hypothesized that early-onset obesity could be induced by mutations in MC3R. To investigate this hypothesis, we screened the entire coding region of the MC3R gene for mutations in obese subjects. A total of 404 overweight and obese children and adolescents, 86 severely obese adults (BMI ≥40 kg/m2), and 150 normal-weight control adults were included. Besides three synonymous coding variations in the MC3R gene (S69S, L95L, I226I), we were able to identify three novel heterozygous, nonsynonymous, coding mutations (N128S, V211I, L299V) in three unrelated obese children. None of these mutations were found in any of the control subjects. Functional studies assessing localization and signaling properties of the mutant receptors provided proof for impaired function of the L299V mutated receptor, whereas no conclusive evidence for functional impairment of the N128S and V211I mutated receptors could be established. First, these results provide supporting evidence for a role of the MC3R gene in the pathogenesis of obesity in a small subset of patients. Second, they show that caution is called for the interpretation of newly discovered mutations in MC3R.