CAS-Croucher Joint Labs

The CAS-Croucher Funding Scheme for Joint Laboratories is the outcome of an agreement between The Chinese Academy of Sciences (CAS) and the Croucher Foundati...

Proteomic and functional interrogation of fat storage organelle heterogeneity

The overall goal of the project is to understand how fat storage organelle heterogeneity is enforced by a novel sub-cellular structure, termed peri-lipid droplet (LD) cage. The team will comprehensively identify the functional roles of peri-LD cage components in cellular fat storage in C.elegans and mammalian adipocytes. 

Dr Ho Yi Mak, Division of Life Science, Hong Kong University of Science and Technology

The high prevalence of obesity and associated metabolic disorders such as diabetes and fatty liver places an enormous economic burden on modern societies. There is ample evidence that abnormal fat storage can be caused by a combination genetics and dietary factors. Furthermore, the elderly are more susceptible to energy imbalance that exacerbates abnormal fat storage. However, open questions remain regarding how individual cells cope with excess fat before they succumb to its toxic effects and how such mechanisms are altered through the aging process.

One of the goals of this lab is to understand how fat storage us regulated at the endoplasmic reticulum (ER) - lipid droplet interface. The team has previously shown that physical and functional coupling of lipid droplets to the ER is facilitated by a macro-molecular complex and requires an intact tubular ER network. The team discovered that lipid droplets can be subdivided into at least two populations, one of which is marked by Seipin. 

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