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NEW FROM JBC: "Lipid sensing by mTOR complexes via de novo synthesis of phosphatidic acid"

In a fascinating new study from David Foster and colleagues, the mechanism by which the mTOR system monitors and responds to an influx of fatty acids is revealed. This influx stimulates the production of phosphatidic acid, which has a direct influence on both mTORC1 and mTORC2.

Read the complete article here:


Two new Lipid articles from ASBMB Today


Proteins and lipids — a complicated relationship?
By Eva Sevcsik & Gerhard J. Schütz
How the lipid–protein matrix in cells alters protein–lipid interactions

PI-PLC β1 in differentiation and disease
By Lucio Cocco
Nuclear inositide-specific phospholipase Cβ1 linked to both a leukemia and a muscular dystrophy

Journal of Biological Chemistry Classics:
Masochistic Enzymology: Dennis Vance's Work on Phosphatidylcholine

The stellar work of Dennis Vance and his colleagues in illuminating the phosphatidylethanolamine methylation pathway for the generation of phosphatidylcholine is highlighted in this set of “JBC Classics” nominated by George Carman with commentary by Dr. Carman and Alexandra Taylor. And classics they certainly are.

Read the full manuscript:


Congratulations to the 2017 Lipid Division Award Lectures! 



St. Michael's University
Molecular probes to study the subcellular localization and dynamics of phospholipids and cholesterol
10:00 a.m. - 12:00 p.m. Sunday, April 23, 2017




Leibniz Institut für Molekulare Pharmakologie
Phosphoinositide conversion in the endolysosomal system
8:45 a.m. - 9:15 a.m. Tuesday, April 25, 2017



A Tribute to Dr. Marion Sewer (1972-2016) 

Marion Sewer, a national and international leader in the field of steroid hormone biosynthesis, passed away on Jan. 28, 2016, at the age of 43.

Sewer grew up in Saint John, U.S. Virgin Islands. She graduated from Spelman College with a B.S. in biochemistry in 1993 and then went on to earn a Ph.D. in pharmacology at Emory University under the mentorship of Edward Morgan.

Sewer trained as a postdoctoral fellow at Vanderbilt University in the laboratory of Michael Waterman. She began her career in 2002 as a faculty member at Georgia Institute of Technology and moved in 2009 to the University of California, San Diego, where she rose to the rank of full professor.

Sewer’s work was at the leading edge of her field. Notably, she made the seminal finding that nuclear receptors are targets for sphingolipids. Her lab identified distinct sphingolipid and phospholipid species as endogenous ligands for the nuclear receptor steroidogenic factor 1, thereby revealing a novel role for nuclear phospholipids and sphingolipids in the control of gene transcription.

Sewer had a tremendous commitment to service within the scientific community. Among her many important roles, she served on several study sections for the National Institutes of Health and National Science Foundation, including membership on the molecular and cellular endocrinology integrated review group.

In addition, she chaired symposia at prestigious national and international meetings. In fact, she was a co-organizer of a session for the forthcoming 2016 ASBMB Annual Meeting. She also served on the editorial boards of the journals Endocrinology and Steroids and was secretary/treasurer of the American Society for Pharmacology and Experimental Therapeutics’ drug metabolism division.

Improving diversity in science was a passion of Sewer’s. She worked tirelessly toward this mission as a member of Women in Endocrinology’s mentoring committee, a member of the Endocrine Society’s minority affairs committee and as deputy chair of the ASBMB’s minority affairs committee.



From Protein Trafficking to Lipid Sorting: A Fascinating Lipid Journey

In the newest “Lipid News” article, Fred Maxfield discusses how he became interested in lipid trafficking that eventually led him to some seminal discoveries. As Fred notes in his article “Basic mechanisms for maintaining distinct lipid compositions in different organelles are only partially understood, which means that this is an area where fundamental principles are still awaiting discovery”. And much was discovered. This article outlines Fred’s discovery of lipid sorting and trafficking using a variety of state-of-the-art techniques. It’s a wonderful story that highlights discovery that arises from the interdisciplinary approaches of cell biology biochemistry and biophysics of membranes. It’s a fun read and one that captures the excitement of graduate student that still lives in an established investigator.

See the full article


LIPID NEWS: Desperately seeking Sputnik for fundamental science

It is clear that researchers and the public need something around which they can rally, but what should it be?

Check out the new thematic series on Fat-Soluble Vitamins in the Journal of Lipid Research. This series is introduced by Mary L. Chang ASBMB Publications Manager for the Journal of Lipid Research in the August issue of ASBMB today:

Vitamins A, D, E and K are the four fat-soluble vitamins required to maintain good health in higher organisms. The July issue of the Journal of Lipid Research marks the beginning of a thematic series on these vitaminscoordinated by editorial board member William S. Blaner of Columbia University. The special section in the July issue includes an introductory editorial by Blaner and four reviews from experts on vitamin A. Subsequent issues this year will explore vitamins D, E and K.

In developing countries, vitamin A deficiency remains a major public health concern, and much research is focused on identifying populations most at risk. Coordinated efforts in molecular research to develop vitamin-A–fortified plant sources could help eradicate this public health problem. Epidemiologic studies are being conducted to understand how dietary intake of the vitamin might be related to development or incidence of certain diseases. The four thematic reviews in July’s JLR focus on vitamin A’s molecular actions and its metabolism.

In one review, Abdulkerim Eroglu and Earl H. Harrison of Ohio State of University explore the research insights on carotenoid conversion to vitamin A, carotenoid metabolism to create apo-carotenoids, and the actions and metabolism of carotenoids in higher animals.

Columbia University’s Sheila M. O’Byrne and William S. Blaner’s contribution to the series examines how vitamin A is stored in the body as retinyl esters, how they evolved, and how mobilization of these stores is achieved through the actions of specific vitamin-A–binding proteins and enzymes.

Natalia Y. Kedishvili of University of Alabama at Birmingham reviews what is known of the formation of retinoic acid and how it is broken down and eliminated from cells and tissues.

In the fourth and final review, Ziad Al Tanoury, Aleksandr Piskunov and Cecile Rochette-Egly of France’s Institut de Génétique et de Biologie Moléculaire et Cellulaire discuss what is known about the retinoic acid receptors, how retinoic acid can affect genomic expression and the nongenomic effects of vitamin A.

ASBMB science writer Raj Mukhopadhyay has written some fascinating lipid-related blog posts. Check out one of the latest posts showcasing research indicating that gut bacteria may be a source of male steroid hormones. There are many more fascinating posts to browse on her blog Wild Types!




Lipids in Signaling and Metabolism
July 30 - August 4, 2017
Waterville Valley, NH


58th International Conference on The Bioscience of Lipids
September 10-14, 2017
ETH Zurich, Switzerland


15th International Conference
October 22-25, 2017
Puerto Vallarta, Mexico



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