Benefiting from technological platforms, including lipidomics, bioinformatics and novel physiological systems, we have identified a unique fatty-acid, C16:1n7-palmitoleate, as a major signaling lipid hormone that controls metabolic activity in liver and muscle. We are currently exploring its mechanisms of action and searching for additional active fatty acid species that drive metabolic homeostasis.
Lipid chaperones, called fatty acid binding proteins (FABPs), are critical molecules that integrate numerous lipid signals under metabolic stress conditions. FABPs bind to lipids and other endogenous molecules, determining their composition, partitioning and function in cells. FABP4, also known as aP2, is an essential molecule for integration of adipocyte biology with systemic metabolic regulation. We are interested in the hormonal actions and secretory capacities of these robust binding proteins.
Obesity has been recognized as a risk factor for asthma and atherosclerosis. aP2-deficient mice show resistance to airway inflammation as well as atherosclerosis, raising the possibility that treating this molecule as a therapeutic target will be beneficial for distinct chronic diseases. As a proof of principle, we produced an antibody raised against aP2 and provided strong preclinical support for the potential of aP2-targeted therapies.