COVID-19: lipid disruption is pushing the envelopeA plethora of articles have been published on severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2), and science has delivered, given the rapid development of vaccines and of novel antiviral therapeutics evaluated for their efficacy efficiently in platform trials. An unfolding story of interferon genetics and autoantibodies has begun to help us parse the reasons for varied susceptibility to severe disease and sequencing, and tracking at a global level has allowed for the rapid detection of new variants as they emerge.
De(C1P)hering the role of ceramide-1-phosphate levels in skin wound healingThe skin is the largest organ of the body and serves several important roles: preventing water loss, serving as the first barrier against trauma—including UV radiation and chemicals—and pathogens, participating in metabolic functions such as vitamin D synthesis and temperature regulation, and informing the body of external conditions through billions of sensory and proprioceptor nerve cells. It is a dynamic organ composed of various cell types that have specific and unique functions, which are present in different skin layers, called the epidermis, dermis, and hypodermis.
HDL, heart disease, and the lungFor more than 50 years, a low plasma level of HDL-cholesterol has been known as an independent risk factor of atherosclerotic cardiovascular diseases (ASCVD). In addition, HDL particles exert a plethora of potentially anti-atherogenic activities on many cells including endothelial cells, smooth muscle cells, as well as monocyte-derived macrophages and other inflammatory cells. Nevertheless, therapeutic interventions raising HDL-cholesterol did not improve the prevention of cardiovascular events beyond standard therapy with statins.
A BOSSS platform: using functionalized lipids and click chemistry for new discoveries in lipid researchThe development of new synthetic reporter lipids is critical in our continued pursuit to understand the intricacies of complex lipid physical and biological properties. Reporter functionalized lipids include, but are not limited to, fluorescently labeled lipids, electron paramagnetic probe-labeled lipids, and MRI lipids. Other functionalized lipids include those synthetic lipids (e.g., polyethylene glycolated lipids) used for drug delivery and gene transfection. Although these functionalized lipids are important reagents in the lipid biochemist's toolbox, the investigator must also consider that the employed functionalized lipid may not always necessarily mimic the natural lipid of interest.
Understanding the underlying molecular pathways by which Mboat7/Lpiat1 depletion induces hepatic steatosisNonalcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD) is becoming the leading cause of chronic liver disease worldwide, paralleling the global epidemic of obesity and type 2 diabetes (1). In addition to the well-established metabolic and environmental risk factors, a body of evidence supports genetic predisposition as a pivotal driver of NAFLD development and progression to its life-threatening complications, namely cirrhosis and hepatocellular carcinoma. To date, several genetic loci have been identified contributing to NAFLD.
Genetic evidence for independent causal relationships between metabolic biomarkers and risk of coronary artery diseasesDecades of epidemiological research have identified numerous risk factors and biomarkers that are associated with risk of coronary artery disease (CAD) and myocardial infarction. The most well recognized of these are circulating levels of total cholesterol, LDL-cholesterol, HDL-cholesterol, and triglycerides, as well as metabolic syndrome-related traits, such as obesity, hypertension, and T2D (1). However, the association of a biomarker with CAD in observational studies does not necessarily prove a causal relationship.
The bidirectional link between HDL and COVID-19 infectionsIt is well recognized that gram positive and negative bacterial infections, tuberculosis, fungal infections, and parasitic infections result in changes in plasma lipid levels (1–12). Of note, viral infections, such as HIV, Epstein-Barr virus, and Dengue fever, also similarly alter plasma lipid levels (13–15). Typically, infections decrease total cholesterol, low-density lipoprotein cholesterol (LDL-C), and high-density lipoprotein cholesterol (HDL-C) levels with either elevated triglyceride or inappropriately normal triglyceride levels for the decreased nutritional status that characteristically occurs with infections.
Long-lost friend is back in the gameTriglycerides (TGs) are transported in the bloodstream by TG-rich lipoproteins in the form of chylomicrons and VLDLs. The hydrolysis of circulating TGs is rate-limiting for their uptake into tissues and is catalyzed by the enzyme lipoprotein lipase (LPL) (1). The activity of LPL in different tissues is extensively regulated to be able to adjust to changes in lipid availability and demand. The regulation of LPL is mainly carried out at the posttranslational level and is mediated by two groups of proteins.