December 2020
Vol 6, Issue 49

About The Cover

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ONLINE COVER Previous research has established that microRNA (miRNA), a small non-coding RNA molecule that helps to regulate post-transcriptional gene expression, plays a role using oxygen to make energy from carbohydrates and in determining if fat cells will assume a brown or beige identity. But while the roles of miRNAs in various metabolic process have been extensively demonstrated, it has remained unclear whether they could be effectively targeted for pharmaceutical interventions. Andrea Rocha and colleagues tested whether the small molecule enoxacin could trigger widespread miRNA expression changes in mice in order to convert obesity-promoting white fat to brown fat, which stores energy in a smaller space and may help protect against obesity. They found that enoxacin successfully mitigated obesity caused by diet, promoting increased energy expenditure in the mice. The researchers conclude that the fluroquinolone class of antibiotics (which include enoxacin) could be developed into a new type of drug to target energy metabolism in humans. [CREDIT: ANDRÉA L. ROCHA AND DANILO L. FERRUCCI (INFABIC-UNICAMP)]