Evaluation of A2BP1 as an Obesity Gene

  1. Leslie J. Baier1
  1. 1Phoenix Epidemiology and Clinical Research Branch, National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Disease, National Institutes of Health, Phoenix, Arizona;
  2. 2CNRS 8090-Institute of Biology, Pasteur Institute, Lille, France;
  3. 3Division of Endocrinology, Diabetes and Nutrition, University of Maryland School of Medicine, Baltimore, Maryland;
  4. 4University Hospital for Children & Adolescents, University of Leipzig, Leipzig, Germany;
  5. 5Clinical Research Center, Malmö General Hospital, Lund University, Malmö, Sweden;
  6. 6Interdisciplinary Centre for Clinical Research, University of Leipzig, Leipzig, Germany.
  1. Corresponding author: Leslie J. Baier, lbaier{at}
  • L.M. is currently affiliated with Wake Forest University Health Sciences, Winston-Salem, North Carolina.


OBJECTIVE A genome-wide association study (GWAS) in Pima Indians (n = 413) identified variation in the ataxin-2 binding protein 1 gene (A2BP1) that was associated with percent body fat. On the basis of this association and the obese phenotype of ataxin-2 knockout mice, A2BP1 was genetically and functionally analyzed to assess its potential role in human obesity.

RESEARCH DESIGN AND METHODS Variants spanning A2BP1 were genotyped in a population-based sample of 3,234 full-heritage Pima Indians, 2,843 of whom were not part of the initial GWAS study and therefore could serve as a sample to assess replication. Published GWAS data across A2BP1 were additionally analyzed in French adult (n = 1,426) and children case/control subjects (n = 1,392) (Meyre et al. Nat Genet 2009;41:157–159). Selected variants were genotyped in two additional samples of Caucasians (Amish, n = 1,149, and German children case/control subjects, n = 998) and one additional Native American (n = 2,531) sample. Small interfering RNA was used to knockdown A2bp1 message levels in mouse embryonic hypothalamus cells.

RESULTS No single variant in A2BP1 was reproducibly associated with obesity across the different populations. However, different variants within intron 1 of A2BP1 were associated with BMI in full-heritage Pima Indians (rs10500331, P = 1.9 × 10−7) and obesity in French Caucasian adult (rs4786847, P = 1.9 × 10−10) and children (rs8054147, P = 9.2 × 10−6) case/control subjects. Reduction of A2bp1 in mouse embryonic hypothalamus cells decreased expression of Atxn2, Insr, and Mc4r.

CONCLUSIONS Association analysis suggests that variation in A2BP1 influences obesity, and functional studies suggest that A2BP1 could potentially affect adiposity via the hypothalamic MC4R pathway.


  • The costs of publication of this article were defrayed in part by the payment of page charges. This article must therefore be hereby marked “advertisement” in accordance with 18 U.S.C. Section 1734 solely to indicate this fact.

  • Received October 30, 2009.
  • Accepted August 8, 2010.

Readers may use this article as long as the work is properly cited, the use is educational and not for profit, and the work is not altered. See for details.

| Table of Contents

This Article

  1. Diabetes vol. 59 no. 11 2837-2845
  1. Online Appendix
  2. All Versions of this Article:
    1. db09-1604v1
    2. 59/11/2837 most recent