This project was prepared as part of a BioQUEST faculty development workshop entitled Mammalian Bioinformatics at Jackson Laboratory in November 2004. The BioQUEST Curriculum Consortium is committed to the reform of undergraduate biology instruction through an emphasis on engaging students in realistic scientific practices. This approach is sometimes characterized as an inquiry driven approach and is captured in BioQUEST's three P's (problem-posing, problem-solving, and peer-persuasion). As part of this workshop groups of faculty were encouraged to initiate innovative curricular projects. We are sharing these works in progress in the hope that they will stimulate further exploration, collaboration and development. Please see the following links for additional information:

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LIMPET: Leptin, an insular molecule physiologically investigates evolutionary theory.
Authors          Audiences          Overview           Materials          Resources           Future Directions



Sarah Prescott
University of New Hampshire

Emma Creaser
Unity College


Possible Audiences:

Undergraduate courses including Biology I, Genetics and independent studies.  


Brief Overview:

Leptin is a hormone secreted by adipose cells. Are there structural differences in the leptin molecules in terrestrial mammals and aquatic mammals? Do the leptin molecules reflect the phylogenetic relations of marine mammals and terrestrial ones. How do leptin molecules compare between desert organisms (camel, dromedary, fat-tailed dunnart) and temperate organisms. Does the evolutionary conservation of a leptin molecule reflect functional regions of the hormone? If the mouse leptin is more similar to chickens than rabbits, what about human leptin?  


Project Materials:

The data shared here are a compiled list of fasta formatted leptin precursors and leptin fragments from different organisms. There exists a crystallized structure of this human leptin PDB # 1AX8  


Resources and References:

References and Links

Primary Literature References
Cherhab FF, Mounzih K, Lu R, Lim ME: Early onset of reproductive function in normal female mice treated with leptin. Science 275:88, 1997.
Friedman JM, Halaas JL: Leptin and the regulation of body weight in mammals. Nature 395:763, 1998.
Gaucher EA; Miyamoto MM; Benner SA: Evolutionary, structural and biochemical evidence for a new interaction site of the Leptin obesity protein. Genetics 163(4): 1549-1553, 2003.
Suzuki M; Yokoyama M; Onuma M; Takahashi H; Yamanaka M; Okada H; Ichimura Y; Ohtaishi N: Significant relationships between the serum leptin concentration and the conventional fat reserve indices in a wildlife species, Hokkaido sika deer (Cervus nippon yesoensis). Wildlife Research 31(1): 97-100, 2004;
Fuglei E; Mustonen AM; Nieminen P: Effects of season, food deprivation and re-feeding on leptin, ghrelin and growth hormone in Arctic foxes (Alopex lagopus) on Svalbard, Norway. Journal of Comparative Physiology B Biochemical Systemic and Environmental Physiology 174(2): 157-162, 2004.



- leptin_sequences.doc