Fat mass and obesity-associated protein also known as alpha-ketoglutarate-dependent dioxygenase FTO is an enzyme that in humans is encoded by the FTOgene located on chromosome 16. Certain variants of the FTO gene appear to be correlated with obesity in humans.
The FTO gene is widely expressed in both fetal and adult tissue, however it has especially high expression in the hypothalamus and pancreatic islets.
The amino acidsequence of the transcribed FTO protein shows high homology with the enzyme AlkB which oxidatively demethylatesDNA. The FTO gene expression was also found to be significantly upregulated in the hypothalamus of rats after food deprivation and strongly negatively correlated with the expression of orexogenic galanin like peptide which is involved in the stimulation of food intake.
Increases in hypothalamic expression of FTO are associated with the regulation of energy intake but not feeding reward.