The NIH announces the development of a transgenic mouse with a targeted mutation in the ucp3 gene. The ucp3 gene is implicated I the function of regulating energy metabolism. This regulatory function is thought to be accomplished by changing metabolic efficiency (causing energy expended as heat rather than used for ADP/ATP conversion) and/or by participating in fat metabolism. The mutation should inactivate the ucp3 function and the mouse provided a testing vehicle for the above hypotheses.
If in fact ucp3 is involved in energy efficiency and/or fat metabolism, then variation in its sequence or level of expression may explain some of human obesity. If ucp3 is involved in fever generation, it would be of interest in testing inactivating drugs.
In summary, this mouse model provides a model for evaluating the role of ucp3 in obesity, energy efficiency, and selective use of energy sources (i.e. fat vs. carbohydrates), body temperature regulation, such as fever, or other forms of stimulated thermogenesis (e.g. by diet of dietary fat). For example, a drug candidate thought to act via ucp3 should have no effect in these mice.