"Everybody knows about blood lipids like cholesterol and triglycerides," 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.
"For the first time, we've identified and measured hundreds more and ultimately we might discover thousands. These numbers and their remarkable diversity illustrate that lipids have key, specific functions, most of which we do not yet recognize or understand. This lipidome is a first step towards being able to investigate correlations between specific fat molecules and disease and developing new treatments."
The findings will be published in the November issue of the Journal of Lipid Research.
In recent years, scientists have begun to appreciate the greater, more complex roles of lipids in human biology (among them the emergence of vitamin D). The utility of lipids in building cell membranes is well known, as is their function as repositories of stored energy. Less well-understood, however, is their role as signaling molecules.
"Fatty acids, which are common, are turning out to be very important communication conduits in some diseases," said co-author Oswald Quehenberger, PhD, professor of medicine at UC San Diego. "For example, adipocytes (fat cells) use specific fatty molecules to communicate with distant tissues, a process that's been linked to insulin resistance and diabetes and may also involve inflammatory networks."
Added Dennis: "Any condition in which inflammation is a component involves lipids. In fact, it's hard to think of a disease, including cancer, that doesn't involve lipids in some way."
The biggest challenge to mapping lipids is their abundance and diversity. Other basic molecules like sugars, amino acids and nucleic acids are limited to handfuls of types and variations. The upper limit of lipid species, from fatty acyls and glycerophospholipds to sterols and prenols, has yet to be determined. It may reach into the tens of thousands.
In the meantime, the new lipidome establishes benchmark levels for 588 lipid species, based on a new human plasma standard reference material (SRM) developed by the National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases in collaboration with the National Institutes of Standards. The SRM was prepared by obtaining plasma samples from 100 individuals between 40 and 50 years of age, whose ethnicity and gender was representative of the U.S. population.
"I look at this lipidome as something like the human genome project," said Quehenberger. "First you have to do the sequencing. You have to know what genes – or in this case, fats – are there. Then you can begin to look at individual species, do association studies and discover how these molecules fit into systems, processes and diseases."
The lipidome is part of the larger, on-going LIPID MAPS project, which received a second five-year renewal grant in 2008 for almost $38 million. LIPID MAPS 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.
Funding for this work was provided by the LIPID MAPS Large Scale Collaborative Grant from the National Institute of General Medical Sciences.
Co-authors of the research are Aaron M. Armando of the Departments of Chemistry, Biochemistry and Pharmacology at the UCSD School of Medicine; Alex H. Brown, Stephen B. Milne, David S. Myers of the Department of Pharmacology at Vanderbilt University School of Medicine; Alfred H. Merrill, Sibali Bandyopadhyay, Kristin N. Jones, Samuel Kelly, Rebecca L. Shaner, Cameron M. Sullards, Elaine Wang of the School of Biology, Chemistry and Biochemistry and the Petit Institute for Bioengineering and Bioscience at Georgia Institute of Technology; Robert C. Murphy, Robert M. Barkley and Thomas J. Leiker of the Department of Pharmacology at the University of Colorado, Denver; Christian R.H. Raetz, Ziqiang Guan, Gregory M. Laird and David A. Six of the Department of Biology at Duke University Medical Center; David W. Russell and Jeffrey G. McDonald at the Department of Molecular Genetics and the Cancer Immunology Center at the University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center; and Shankar Subramaniam and Eoin Fahy of the Department of Bioengineering, School of Engineering at UCSD.
Scott LaFee | EurekAlert!
Nanoparticle Exposure Can Awaken Dormant Viruses in the Lungs
16.01.2017 | Helmholtz Zentrum München - Deutsches Forschungszentrum für Gesundheit und Umwelt
Cholera bacteria infect more effectively with a simple twist of shape
13.01.2017 | Princeton University
Researchers from the University of Hamburg in Germany, in collaboration with colleagues from the University of Aarhus in Denmark, have synthesized a new superconducting material by growing a few layers of an antiferromagnetic transition-metal chalcogenide on a bismuth-based topological insulator, both being non-superconducting materials.
While superconductivity and magnetism are generally believed to be mutually exclusive, surprisingly, in this new material, superconducting correlations...
Laser-driving of semimetals allows creating novel quasiparticle states within condensed matter systems and switching between different states on ultrafast time scales
Studying properties of fundamental particles in condensed matter systems is a promising approach to quantum field theory. Quasiparticles offer the opportunity...
Among the general public, solar thermal energy is currently associated with dark blue, rectangular collectors on building roofs. Technologies are needed for aesthetically high quality architecture which offer the architect more room for manoeuvre when it comes to low- and plus-energy buildings. With the “ArKol” project, researchers at Fraunhofer ISE together with partners are currently developing two façade collectors for solar thermal energy generation, which permit a high degree of design flexibility: a strip collector for opaque façade sections and a solar thermal blind for transparent sections. The current state of the two developments will be presented at the BAU 2017 trade fair.
As part of the “ArKol – development of architecturally highly integrated façade collectors with heat pipes” project, Fraunhofer ISE together with its partners...
At TU Wien, an alternative for resource intensive formwork for the construction of concrete domes was developed. It is now used in a test dome for the Austrian Federal Railways Infrastructure (ÖBB Infrastruktur).
Concrete shells are efficient structures, but not very resource efficient. The formwork for the construction of concrete domes alone requires a high amount of...
Many pathogens use certain sugar compounds from their host to help conceal themselves against the immune system. Scientists at the University of Bonn have now, in cooperation with researchers at the University of York in the United Kingdom, analyzed the dynamics of a bacterial molecule that is involved in this process. They demonstrate that the protein grabs onto the sugar molecule with a Pac Man-like chewing motion and holds it until it can be used. Their results could help design therapeutics that could make the protein poorer at grabbing and holding and hence compromise the pathogen in the host. The study has now been published in “Biophysical Journal”.
The cells of the mouth, nose and intestinal mucosa produce large quantities of a chemical called sialic acid. Many bacteria possess a special transport system...
10.01.2017 | Event News
09.01.2017 | Event News
05.01.2017 | Event News
17.01.2017 | Earth Sciences
17.01.2017 | Materials Sciences
17.01.2017 | Architecture and Construction