Biologically Active Lipids
Yilmaz et al., Diabetes 2016
These studies use a variety of technological platforms including chemical and genetic screens to explore functionally active fatty acids and other individual lipids and nutrients which have both critical intracellular functions and provide hormonal signals between adipose tissue and other metabolic organs such as liver and muscle tissues. Using lipidomics, bioinformatics, and novel physiological systems, we have identified an endogenous nutrient, C16:1n7-palmitoleate, as a lipokine, a fatty acid-based molecule with hormonal function. This lipokine is produced by fat, and subsequently signals to the liver to modify hepatic lipogenesis, and to the muscle to stimulate glucose disposal. Our studies further demonstrated that de novo lipogenesis in adipose tissue is a critical component of metabolic flexibility and homeostasis. Currently, we are exploring the mechanisms of action of this lipokine in search of additional active fatty acid species to study their metabolic effects and signaling mechanisms, and exploring the significance of adipose tissue de novo lipogenesis in systemic metabolism. In addition, we hope to generate additional strategies to to leverage these discovery efforts to create novel preventive and therapeutic opportunities against numerous chronic diseases including obesity, diabetes and atherosclerosis.