Lipid Trafficking and Disease group


Nature is an excellent tinkerer, not a divine artificer

(Francois Jacob, 1965 Nobel Prize in Medicine).


Lipid Trafficking and Disease is a group of cell biologists established in 2001 by the curiosity of knowing what is happening inside our cells and how these mechanisms determine the proper functioning of our body. Our systemic approaches require of many techniques that we have incorporated during these years such as surgery, biochemistry, microscopy, molecular biology, flow cytometry, respirometry and all those required to solve the enigmas proposed by the cell. Our studies try to be multidisciplinary, from an individual cell to the animal.

The initial aim of our project is to characterize - in health and in disease - the cellular processes that are regulated or altered due to lipid accumulation within the cells. All prokaryote and eukaryote cells maintain the competence of accumulating lipids in organelles known as intracellular lipid droplets. In healthy cells, a small population of lipid droplets is present at all times, though these organelles become abundant in response to different physiopathological conditions such as obesity, diabetes, fatty liver disease (steatosis), liver cirrhosis, viral hepatitis, arteriosclerosis and even cancer.


Globally, these disorders affect over half of the population in western countries but causality of lipid droplets in disease progression is still unclear. Recent advances in the cellular biology of lipid droplets have shown that they are multifunctional organelles that are metabolically very active and thus constitute key elements in the complex exchange of lipids and proteins in constant movement within the cells. In this scenario, we are especially focused in the biological cost of the accumulation of cholesterol in organelles such as mitochondria and the role of CAV in the regulation of these fluxes.

The top image shows caveolin (red) and TIP47 (green) on intracellular lipid droplets. The lower panels show distribution of model peptides constructed in our lab and used as lipid droplet markers.  Cover Image of Traffic’s Virtual Issue on Lipids,  from I
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