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Research Abstracts Online
January 2008 - March 2009

University of Minnesota Twin Cities
College of Biological Sciences and Medical School
Department of Biochemistry, Molecular Biology, and Biophysics

PI: David A. Bernlohr

Role of Adipocytes in Mammalian Lipid Metabolism

These researchers are primarily concerned with lipid metabolism, specifically the mechanism(s) that cells use to move water-insoluble lipids across membranes and within cells, a process called lipid trafficking. To do this, the researchers study both plasma membrane fatty acid transporters and cytoplasmic fatty acid binding proteins (FABPs).

One project examines the mechanism of fatty acid transport across the plasma membrane and the molecular regulation of transporter gene expression by insulin and lipids. The major goals are to determine the biochemical components of the transport system, the mechanism of fatty acid transfer across membranes, and the regulation of the system at the protein and gene level.

A second project examines the structure/function relationships of FABPs and their genes, focusing on the adipocyte (FABP4) and keratinocyte (FABP5) members of this large, multigene family. The group is studying the physiological roles of FABPs in health and disease.

The researchers use a combination of protein chemistry, structural biology, metabolism, and gene expression techniques to test experimental hypotheses. Proteomic analysis of FABP-lipid complexes is ongoing, as well as the identification of new gene products misregulated in FABP-null animals.

Group Members

Jessica Curtis, Graduate Student
Rocio Foncea, Research Associate
Jason Fowler, Graduate Student
Brigette Frohnert, Faculty Collaborator
Candace Gename, Staff
David Graham, Undergraduate Student
Paul Grimsrud, Graduate Student
Elizabeth Helgeson, Graduate Student
Kristina Hellberg, Graduate Student
Ann Hertzel, Research Associate
Brittany Juhlmann, Undergraduate Student
Sandra Lobo, Research Associate
Anne Smith, Staff
Brian Thompson, Graduate Student
Brian Wiczer, Graduate Student
Wendy Wright, Staff