METLIN Molecule of the Month

How A Lipid Garnered Two Academy Awards

Posted on April 15, 2022


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The Oscar winning film “Lorenzo’s Oil” garnering two Academy Awards, the olive oil sitting on your kitchen counter, Avanti Polar Lipids, and Croda – what do these all have in common? Find out the answer in this month's METLIN Molecule of the Month!

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Desmosterol - Master Regulator of Lipid Metabolism

Posted on February 18, 2022


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Cholesterol is the sterol that gets most of the attention in human biology, however desmosterol is an underappreciated cousin. For example, desmosterol is the immediate precursor to cholesterol in one of two cholesterol biosynthesis pathways - the Bloch pathway of cholesterol biosynthesis. As the immediate precursor to cholesterol, desmosterol is structurally very similar to cholesterol with the only difference being a double bond located on the side chain between C24 and C25. Despite the similar structures of these two molecules, they have surprisingly different physiological roles, desmosterol demonstrating itself as a master regulator of lipid metabolism.

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N,N-Dimethyl Sphingosine: What a Pain!

Posted on January 18, 2022


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Our first METLIN Molecule of the Month is N,N-dimethylsphingosine (DMS), a lipid with multiple physiological activities. DMS and its relationship to neuropathic pain was first released in Nature Chemical Biology 2012 using an approach now called “activity metabolomics”. In 2017, DMS was also shown to have therapeutic impact on chronic Chagas disease cardiomyopathy, a disease caused by the parasite Trypanasoma cruzi.

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