Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

Where the Fat’s At

27.08.2010
In real estate, location is everything. The same might be said of lipids – those crucial cellular fats and oils that serve as building blocks for cells and as key energy sources for the body.

In a paper published in the September issue of the Journal of Lipid Research, a team of scientists, led by researchers at the University of California, San Diego School of Medicine, has mapped for the first time the actual locations of specific lipids within a single cell.

“This is groundbreaking analysis,” said Edward A. Dennis, PhD, distinguished professor of pharmacology, chemistry and biochemistry at UC San Diego and principal investigator of LIPID MAPS, a national consortium studying the structure and function of lipids. “We’ve defined not only which lipids are within a particular cell, but also where these lipids are located. That’s important because lipids do different things in a cell. They’re vital components of membranes. They’re involved in communications and signaling, both within cells and between cells. Where they are located – in a cell’s nucleus, its mitochondria, membrane or other organelle – is relevant to their function.”

And because most serious diseases are linked to specific organelle dysfunction, understanding what lipids do at the subcellular level is essential to elucidating how diseases ranging from atherosclerosis and arthritis to cancer and diabetes work – and how they might be better treated or prevented.

The focus of the lipid mapping was a cultured mouse macrophage or white blood cell, said Dennis, who also serves as editor-in-chief of the Journal of Lipid Research. Alexander Andreyev, PhD, a project scientist in the Dennis lab, extracted and separated organelles of the macrophage using advanced subcellular fractionation techniques. Scientists at collaborating universities then precisely identified and quantified the major lipid categories present with mass spectrometry. More than 220 individual molecular lipid species were identified and analyzed.

The analyses were conducted on macrophages in both resting and activated stages, the latter induced by exposing the cells to a specially synthesized chemical similar to a molecule found in bacteria pathogens. Called KLA, the chemical provokes a signaling cascade inside macrophages, activating their immune system response to infections.

“The idea was to see where targeted lipids were in macrophages at rest and how this changed upon infection,” said Dennis. “We discovered that numerous lipids change in abundance in the membrane and in organelles once a macrophage becomes active.”

Identifying these changes in specific lipids is expected to provide scientists with a deeper, more sophisticated understanding of how fats are involved in and influence disease processes, said Dennis.

“We’ve created a new picture of what’s happening in cells. Not an image, but a view at the molecular level where drugs interact and diseases are cured.”

The findings are part of the larger, on-going LIPID MAPS project, which received a second five-year renewal grant in 2008 for almost $38 million. The LIPID MAPS project is, in some ways, akin to the earlier Human Genome Project to inventory genes and similar endeavors with proteins (proteomics) and metabolites (metabolomics). It brings together researchers in a dozen research laboratories at nine universities, medical research institutes and life sciences companies. UC San Diego serves as lead institution and information clearinghouse.

“We’ve now identified many hundreds of lipids,” said Dennis, “but we have the capability of detecting many thousands. This has been a trail-blazing experiment. We can now go deeper into the cell.”

Co-authors of the study are Eoin Fahy, Xiang Li, Yihua Zhao and Shankar Subramaniam, San Diego Supercomputing Center, UC San Diego; Ziqiang Guan, Andrea Ryan and Christian R.H. Raetz, Department of Biochemistry, Duke University Medical Center; Samuel Kelly, Hyejung Park, Elaine Wang and Alfred Merrill, School of Biology, Georgia Institute of Technology; Jeffrey G. McDonald, Bonne M. Thompson and David W. Russell, University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center; and Steven Milne, David Myers and H. Alex Brown, Department of Pharmacology, Vanderbilt University.

Scott LaFee | Newswise Science News
Further information:
http://www.ucsd.edu

More articles from Life Sciences:

nachricht Scientists enlist engineered protein to battle the MERS virus
22.05.2017 | University of Toronto

nachricht Insight into enzyme's 3-D structure could cut biofuel costs
19.05.2017 | DOE/Los Alamos National Laboratory

All articles from Life Sciences >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: Wafer-thin Magnetic Materials Developed for Future Quantum Technologies

Two-dimensional magnetic structures are regarded as a promising material for new types of data storage, since the magnetic properties of individual molecular building blocks can be investigated and modified. For the first time, researchers have now produced a wafer-thin ferrimagnet, in which molecules with different magnetic centers arrange themselves on a gold surface to form a checkerboard pattern. Scientists at the Swiss Nanoscience Institute at the University of Basel and the Paul Scherrer Institute published their findings in the journal Nature Communications.

Ferrimagnets are composed of two centers which are magnetized at different strengths and point in opposing directions. Two-dimensional, quasi-flat ferrimagnets...

Im Focus: World's thinnest hologram paves path to new 3-D world

Nano-hologram paves way for integration of 3-D holography into everyday electronics

An Australian-Chinese research team has created the world's thinnest hologram, paving the way towards the integration of 3D holography into everyday...

Im Focus: Using graphene to create quantum bits

In the race to produce a quantum computer, a number of projects are seeking a way to create quantum bits -- or qubits -- that are stable, meaning they are not much affected by changes in their environment. This normally needs highly nonlinear non-dissipative elements capable of functioning at very low temperatures.

In pursuit of this goal, researchers at EPFL's Laboratory of Photonics and Quantum Measurements LPQM (STI/SB), have investigated a nonlinear graphene-based...

Im Focus: Bacteria harness the lotus effect to protect themselves

Biofilms: Researchers find the causes of water-repelling properties

Dental plaque and the viscous brown slime in drainpipes are two familiar examples of bacterial biofilms. Removing such bacterial depositions from surfaces is...

Im Focus: Hydrogen Bonds Directly Detected for the First Time

For the first time, scientists have succeeded in studying the strength of hydrogen bonds in a single molecule using an atomic force microscope. Researchers from the University of Basel’s Swiss Nanoscience Institute network have reported the results in the journal Science Advances.

Hydrogen is the most common element in the universe and is an integral part of almost all organic compounds. Molecules and sections of macromolecules are...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

Dortmund MST Conference presents Individualized Healthcare Solutions with micro and nanotechnology

22.05.2017 | Event News

Innovation 4.0: Shaping a humane fourth industrial revolution

17.05.2017 | Event News

Media accreditation opens for historic year at European Health Forum Gastein

16.05.2017 | Event News

 
Latest News

New approach to revolutionize the production of molecular hydrogen

22.05.2017 | Materials Sciences

Scientists enlist engineered protein to battle the MERS virus

22.05.2017 | Life Sciences

Experts explain origins of topographic relief on Earth, Mars and Titan

22.05.2017 | Physics and Astronomy

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>