Tony Futerman's Lab

Sphingolipid complexity

Our laboratory works on sphingolipids, critical membrane components involved in membrane structure and in signaling. We focus on two main areas, namely (i) sphingolipid complexity, attempting to understand why there are so many individual lipid species in biological membranes, how their levels are regulated, and how both the enzymes and the pathways that generate sphingolipids may have evolved. We have recently introduced the concept of the ‘anteome’ which refers to all of the upstream metabolic pathways that impinge upon the sphingolipid biosynthetic pathway and must have co-evolved. (ii) We also study what happens what happens when sphingolipid metabolism is altered in human diseases, specifically in sphingolipid storage diseases such as Gaucher disease, and the relationship of Gaucher disease to Parkinson’s disease.