P02 UU

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InstitutionUtrecht University - Bernd Helms, Department of Biochemistry and Cell BiologyImage:UniUtrechtlogo.gif
Principal investigator Prof. Dr. Bernd Helms

EMail: Bernd Helms

Telephone: +31 30 2535375
Country Netherland
Beneficiary NumberP02
About usOur research is focused on understanding the molecular principles of membrane dynamics in

animal cells. In the cell, membranes are continuously transported between organelles. This process includes protein and lipid sorting during transport to maintain the unique membrane composition of each organelle. Within membranes, a select group of lipids and proteins can dynamically segregate into microdomains or so-called lipid rafts to regulate cellular processes. The dynamic properties of biological membranes appear to play a crucial role in many normal cellular functions and many diseases result from dysfunction of membrane dynamics. We study (dys)functions of membrane dynamics in tissue repair in the liver, hostpathogen interactions, and in reproduction. The role of lipids in the pathogenesis of these disorders is a main focus of our Department. We previously described the purification and detailed characterisation of microdomains from Golgi membranes (GICs). Characterisation of its protein constituents show that these domains play a role in maintenance of Golgi structure and function. In addition, the data suggest that the Golgi complex plays a role in innate immunity. In line with these observations, it has been found by others that several intracellular pathogens target the Golgi complex for their intracellular survival and replication. With the development of lipidomics techniques, it now becomes evident that pathogens also take full advantage of the complexity of the host lipidome. Pathogens have devised ingenious ways to interfere with the host cell lipidome. Since early 2006 we have made a strong commitment to lipid research by implementation of a lipidomics "core" facility at our Department, fully dedicated to the analysis of lipids by mass spectrometry. Our research is supported by several grants from the Netherlands Research Organisation (NWO) and by support from Industry. The available technologies include MS based lipidomics techniques (three mass spectrometers, all equipped with ion sources (turbo-)ESI, nano-ESI, and APCI, autosamplers, micropumps, and UV detectors, HPLC, Evaporative Light Scattering Detectors wavelength UV detector, and variable wavelength Fluorescence detector), assays for lipid metabolism using heavy isotope labeld precursors, lipid isolation and separation techniques, isolation of primary liver cells, fractionation studies and isolation of subcellular organelles, and biochemical and biophysical analysis of protein-lipid interactions. The department also houses "The Center for Cell Imaging" that contains state of the art imaging equipment including a confocal and multi-photon microscope as well as a transmission electron microscope and carries shared responsibility for a FACS facility. The department is integrated into the Academic Biomedical centre of Utrecht University, allowing access to various facilities including 'the Netherlands Proteomics Centre' , state of the art electron

microscopy and tomography facilities, and microarray facilities.
ContributionsThe partner will be responsible for studying the mechanism and relevance of vitamin A deposition during hepatic stellate cell proliferation and differentiation for the known interaction with hepatocytes.
Member of TaskforcesTask Force I, Task Force V, and Task Force IX
Member of WorkpackagesWP2 and WP3

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