CASE STUDY

Cell membranes and giant plasma membrane vesicles


University of Texas, Houston Medical School
Levental Laboratory of Membrane Biology

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The Levental Laboratory of Membrane Biology at the University of Texas – Houston Medical School focuses on membrane structure, specifically the partitioning of eukaryotic cell membranes into functional domains by preferential interactions between membrane lipids and proteins. For its research, the Levental Laboratory of Membrane Biology was interested in the quantitative analysis of the lipid composition of mammalian cells and isolated plasma membrane derived from them. With its Shotgun Lipidomics technology, Lipotype delivered its one-of-a-kind, detailed, quantitative information on lipid structure and composition, revealing the role of lipids in stem cell differentiation and informing future experiments. Based on this information, the Levental Lab found that dietary fats can influence stem cell fate, with saturated fat promoting differentiation into fat cells, while omega-3 fish oils inhibited fat formation and promoted differentiation into bone. These observations imply that dietary factors, specifically the amount and composition of ingested fat, have roles far beyond simple metabolism. This fruitful collaboration between the Levental Lab and Lipotype demonstrates the power of lipid analysis for both descriptive and predictive observation on clinically relevant phenomena.
About Levental Laboratory of Membrane Biology/ University of Texas – Houston Medical School

The Levental Laboratory of Membrane Biology is part of the Integrative Biology and Pharmacology department at the University of Texas – Houston Medical School and are also affiliated with the Center for Membrane Biology and the Computational and Integrative Biomedical Research Center at Baylor Medical School. The lab focuses on the functional aspects of membrane structure, specifically the partitioning of eukaryotic cell membranes into functional domains by preferential interactions between membrane lipids and proteins. Primary research goals are: to investigate the physical principles behind the formation of membrane domains; to uncover the mechanisms by which these domains regulate cell signaling and to develop strategies to modulate these mechanisms for treatment of human disease.

 

Reference

ω-3 polyunsaturated fatty acids direct differentiation of the membrane phenotype in mesenchymal stem cells to potentiate osteogenesis – Science Advances, 2017
Kandice R. Levental, Michal A. Surma, Allison D. Skinkle, Joseph H. Lorent, Yong Zhou, Christian Klose, Jeffrey T. Chang, John F. Hancock, and Ilya Levental

 

Domain Stability in Biomimetic Membranes Driven by Lipid Polyunsaturation – The Journal of Physical Chemistry, 2016
Xubo Lin, Joseph H. Lorent, Allison D. Skinkle, Kandice R. Levental, M. Neal Waxham, Alemayehu A. Gorfe, and Ilya Levental

 

Polyunsaturated Lipids Regulate Membrane Domain Stability by Tuning Membrane Order – Biophysical Journal, 2016

Kandice R. Levental, Joseph H. Lorent, Xubo Lin, Allison D. Skinkle, Michal A. Surma, Emily A. Stockenbojer, Alemayehu A. Gorfe, Ilya Levental

 

Remodeling of the postsynaptic plasma membrane during neural development. – Molecular Biology of the Cell, 2016
Karolina TulodzieckaBarbara B. Diaz-RohrerMadeline M. FarleyRobin B. ChanGilbert Di Paolo3, Kandice R. LeventalM. Neal WaxhamIlya Levental