"A molecular mechanism that controls energy expenditure in muscles and helps determine body weight has been identified by U.S. researchers, who said their finding could lead to a new way to treat obesity.
In experiments with mice, the scientists found that energy expenditure is controlled by the ATP-sensitive potassium (KATP) channel. ATP (adenosine triphosphate) is the "energy currency" used by cells. The KATP channel can sense ATP pools and make appropriate adjustments to heart and skeletal performance, the researchers noted.
Mice that lack the KATP channel burn more stored energy through the dissipation of heat at normal activity levels or when resting, according to the report in the Jan. 6 edition of the journal Cell Metabolism."