- Circulating levels of the adipocyte hormone adiponectin are typically reduced in obesity, and this deficiency has been linked to metabolic diseases. It is thus important to understand the mechanisms controlling adiponectin exocytosis. This understanding is hindered by the high complexity of both the available data and the underlying signaling network. To deal with this complexity, we have previously investigated how different intracellular concentrations of Ca2+, cAMP, and ATP affect adiponectin exocytosis, using both patch-clamp recordings and systems biology mathematical modeling.
- There has been a recent interest in the broader physiological importance of multispecific “drug” transporters of the SLC and ABC transporter families. Here, a novel multi-tiered systems biology approach was used to predict metabolites and signaling molecules potentially affected by the in vivo deletion of organic anion transporter 1 (Oat1, Slc22a6, originally NKT), a major kidney-expressed drug transporter. Validation of some predictions in wet-lab assays, together with re-evaluation of existing transport and knock-out metabolomics data, generated an experimentally validated, confidence ranked set of OAT1-interacting endogenous compounds enabling construction of an “OAT1-centered metabolic interaction network.” Pathway and enrichment analysis indicated an important role for OAT1 in metabolism involving: the TCA cycle, tryptophan and other amino acids, fatty acids, prostaglandins, cyclic nucleotides, odorants, polyamines, and vitamins.
- Glucagon-like peptide-1 (GLP-1) signaling through the glucagon-like peptide 1 receptor (GLP-1R) is a key regulator of normal glucose metabolism, and exogenous GLP-1R agonist therapy is a promising avenue for the treatment of type 2 diabetes mellitus. To date, the development of therapeutic GLP-1R agonists has focused on producing drugs with an extended serum half-life. This has been achieved by engineering synthetic analogs of GLP-1 or the more stable exogenous GLP-1R agonist exendin-4 (Ex-4). These synthetic peptide hormones share the overall structure of GLP-1 and Ex-4, with a C-terminal helical segment and a flexible N-terminal tail.
- Phospholipids (PLs) are unusual signaling hormones sensed by the nuclear receptor liver receptor homolog-1 (LRH-1), which has evolved a novel allosteric pathway to support appropriate interaction with co-regulators depending on ligand status. LRH-1 plays an important role in controlling lipid and cholesterol homeostasis and is a potential target for the treatment of metabolic and neoplastic diseases. Although the prospect of modulating LRH-1 via small molecules is exciting, the molecular mechanism linking PL structure to transcriptional co-regulator preference is unknown.