Synthetic Lipid Analogs with Applications to Disease-Related Biological Processes
Dr. Michael D. Best
Professor, Director of Graduate Studies
Department of Chemistry
University of Tennessee, Knoxville
This presentation will highlight different projects in which synthetic lipid analogs have been developed for studies related to disease-related biological processes. This will include two primary areas: 1. Lipid probes for studying the biological properties and roles of signaling lipids, and 2. Designer liposomes for drug delivery applications. For the former, synthetic lipid probes of use for identifying the cognate protein binding partners of native lipids through crosslinking will be discussed. Additionally, metabolic labeling of lipids using clickable substrate analogs that hijack metabolic machinery to produce tagged lipid products will be presented as a means for tracking the biosynthesis of key lipids in cells. The goal of the second area is to develop stimuli-responsive liposomes that release encapsulated contents upon reaching diseased cells. Toward this end, the design, synthesis and study of lipid switches that undergo conformational changes that modulate membrane properties and thereby trigger the release of liposomal contents will be discussed. In particular, we will focus on liposomes that are responsive to molecular recognition events involving disease-associated binding targets.