UMMS Affiliation

Department of Psychiatry

Publication Date


Document Type



Behavioral Neurobiology | Genetics | Psychiatry | Psychiatry and Psychology


BACKGROUND: Obesity is heritable. It predisposes to many diseases. The objectives of this study were to create a compendium of genes relevant to feeding behavior (FB) and/or body weight (BW) regulation; to construct and to analyze networks formed by associations between genes/proteins; and to identify the most significant genes, biological processes/pathways, and tissues/organs involved in BW regulation.

RESULTS: The compendium of genes controlling FB or BW includes 578 human genes. Candidate genes were identified from various sources, including previously published original research and review articles, GWAS meta-analyses, and OMIM (Online Mendelian Inheritance in Man). All genes were ranked according to knowledge about their biological role in body weight regulation and classified according to expression patterns or functional characteristics. Substantial and overrepresented numbers of genes from the compendium encoded cell surface receptors, signaling molecules (hormones, neuropeptides, cytokines), transcription factors, signal transduction proteins, cilium and BBSome components, and lipid binding proteins or were present in the brain-specific list of tissue-enriched genes identified with TSEA tool. We identified 27 pathways from KEGG, REACTOME and BIOCARTA whose genes were overrepresented in the compendium. Networks formed by physical interactions or homological relationships between proteins or interactions between proteins involved in biochemical/signaling pathways were reconstructed and analyzed. Subnetworks and clusters identified by the MCODE tool included genes/proteins associated with cilium morphogenesis, signal transduction proteins (particularly, G protein-coupled receptors, kinases or proteins involved in response to insulin stimulus) and transcription regulation (particularly nuclear receptors). We ranked GWAS genes according to the number of neighbors in three networks and revealed 22 GWAS genes involved in the brain-specific PPI network. On the base of the most reliable PPIs functioning in the brain tissue, new regulatory schemes interpreting relevance to BW regulation are proposed for three GWAS genes (ETV5, LRP1B, and NDUFS3).

CONCLUSIONS: A compendium comprising 578 human genes controlling FB or BW was designed, and the most significant functional groups of genes, biological processes/pathways, and tissues/organs involved in BW regulation were revealed. We ranked genes from the GWAS meta-analysis set according to the number and quality of associations in the networks and then according to their involvement in the brain-specific PPI network and proposed new regulatory schemes involving three GWAS genes (ETV5, LRP1B, and NDUFS3) in BW regulation. The compendium is expected to be useful for pathology risk estimation and for design of new pharmacological approaches in the treatment of human obesity.


Body weight regulation, Brain, Database, Feeding behavior, GWAS meta-analysis, Network, PPIs

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© The Author(s).

DOI of Published Version



BMC Genet. 2016 Dec 22;17(Suppl 3):158. doi: 10.1186/s12863-016-0466-2. Link to article on publisher's site

Journal/Book/Conference Title

BMC genetics

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Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.