Identification of differences in human and great ape phytanic acid metabolism that could influence gene expression profiles and physiological functions.

TitleIdentification of differences in human and great ape phytanic acid metabolism that could influence gene expression profiles and physiological functions.
Publication TypeJournal Article
Year of Publication2010
AuthorsWatkins PA, Moser AB, Toomer CB, Steinberg SJ, Moser HW, Karaman MW, Ramaswamy K, Siegmund KD, Lee RD, Ely JJ, Ryder OA, Hacia JG
JournalBMC physiology
Volume10
Pagination19
Date Published2010
Abstract

It has been proposed that anatomical differences in human and great ape guts arose in response to species-specific diets and energy demands. To investigate functional genomic consequences of these differences, we compared their physiological levels of phytanic acid, a branched chain fatty acid that can be derived from the microbial degradation of chlorophyll in ruminant guts. Humans who accumulate large stores of phytanic acid commonly develop cerebellar ataxia, peripheral polyneuropathy, and retinitis pigmentosa in addition to other medical conditions. Furthermore, phytanic acid is an activator of the PPAR-alpha transcription factor that influences the expression of genes relevant to lipid metabolism.

DOI10.1097/CCM.0b013e31825457b8
Alternate JournalBMC Physiol.