Lipid Trafficking and Disease group

LINES OF RESEARCH

Understanding the biogenesis and consumption of Lipid Droplets: decoding the metabolic syndrome?


Lipid droplets are ubiquitous organelles that collect, store and supply lipids in all mammalian cells and also in bacteria, yeast, fungi and plants. In a changing environment, mechanisms for efficient storage and timely delivery of lipids likely represented an important adaptive response for individual cells. Excessive or reduced accumulation of LDs is clearly undesirable, and is a cellular hallmark of prevalent human diseases such as hepatic steatosis and steatohepatitis, obesity, metabolic syndrome, diabetes, myopathies, lipodystrophies and arteriosclerosis but also have an important economical impact by production of food and biofuels.

Mechanisms of LD formation

Caveolins in the endoplasmic reticulum: homeostatic cholesterol sensors?


Caveolins (CAVs) are essential components of caveolae; plasma membrane invaginations with reduced fluidity, reflecting cholesterol accumulation. CAV proteins bind cholesterol, and CAV’s ability to move between cellular compartments helps control intracellular cholesterol fluxes.

Hepatic and Brain Mitochondrial Cholesterol in Health and Disease


Without CAV1, free cholesterol accumulates in mitochondrial membranes to promote membrane condensation, accumulation of reactive oxygen species and cell death. Thus mitochondrial cholesterol predisposes cells and animals to diseases such as steatohepatitis and neurodegeneration.

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Brief summary of the out-reach activities of the group

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