Life Sciences Research for Lifelong Health

Michael Wakelam

We aim to understand the essential physiological functions of lipids. Lipids are highly dynamic structures with structural, metabolic and signalling roles. To fully understand the roles that lipids have in cell function during ageing we need the ability to determine their individual changes.

The cellular lipidome is extremely complex, with distinct classes of lipids each containing many molecular species that can differ both in the length of each acyl chain present and in the number and position of double bonds.

In our lab we have pioneered the use of high-sensitivity liquid chromatography-mass spectrometry (LC-MS) technology to rapidly and comprehensively measure the levels of lipids in a wide range of cell types, tissues and tumours. The lipidome of a cell typically comprises of ~ 1500 distinct lipid species measurable with current LC-MS technology. However, this number is most likely an underestimate since there are theoretically closer to 10 000 distinct lipid species in the lipidome.

The principal aim of our laboratory is to better understand how the distinct lipid species of a cell’s lipidome function during the healthy ageing of the whole animal.

​To achieve this we use a multidisciplinary approach combining LC-MS analysis, protein biochemistry, cell biology and genetic manipulation of model organisms. This allows us to identify the cellular signalling pathways and processes that individual lipid species regulate, and to investigate how the enzymes that determine the composition of the lipidome are regulated in response to changes in the environment.
 

Group Members

Latest Publications

Purification, characterization and crystallization of the F-ATPase from Paracoccus denitrificans.

Morales-Rios E, Watt IN, Zhang Q

Open biology
5 2046-2441: (2015)

PMID: 26423580

Phosphatidylinositolphosphate Phosphatase Activities and Cancer.

Rudge SA, Wakelam MJ

Journal of lipid research
0022-2275: (2015)

PMID: 26302980

Speed and sensitivity of phototransduction in Drosophila depend on degree of saturation of membrane phospholipids.

Randall AS, Liu CH, Chu B

The Journal of neuroscience : the official journal of the Society for Neuroscience
35 1529-2401:2731-46 (2015)

PMID: 25673862

P-Rex and Vav Rac-GEFs in platelets control leukocyte recruitment to sites of inflammation.

Pan D, Amison RT, Riffo-Vasquez Y

Blood
1528-0020: (2014)

PMID: 25538043

The proto-oncogene PBF binds p53 and is associated with prognostic features in colorectal cancer.

Read ML, Seed RI, Modasia B

Molecular carcinogenesis
1098-2744: (2014)

PMID: 25408419

Melanoma Cells Break Down LPA to Establish Local Gradients That Drive Chemotactic Dispersal.

Muinonen-Martin AJ, Susanto O, Q Zhang

PLoS biology
12 1545-7885:e1001966 (2014)

PMID: 25313567

Modulation of triglyceride and cholesterol ester synthesis impairs assembly of infectious hepatitis C virus.

Liefhebber JM,Hague CV,Zhang Q,Wakelam MJ,McLauchlan J

The Journal of biological chemistry
289 1083-351X:21276-88 (2014)

PMID: 24917668

Lipid droplet formation in response to oleic acid in Huh-7 cells is mediated by the fatty acid receptor FFAR4.

Rohwedder A,Zhang Q,Rudge SA,Wakelam MJ

Journal of cell science
127 1477-9137:3104-15 (2014)

PMID: 24876224