Lipid-protein interaction in nervous system diseases - Coralie di Scala

Current neuroscience research on plasma membranes mainly focuses on proteins functionality, stability and compartmentalization and rarely take into account the impact of the lipidic environment on these processes.

Lipids are the most abundant organic compounds found in the brain and the main component of plasma membranes of nervous cells. In addition to their architectural functions for plasma membranes, lipids are involved in various cellular processes. Indeed, the nature, amount and distribution of lipids are known to change during nervous system development, maturation and aging.

Our team aims to understand the way lipids modulate proteins and evaluate the functional consequences in nervous system diseases with an emphasis on temporal lobe epilepsy and regulation of chloride homeostasis. By using biochemistry of lipids, cellular biology, microscopy and animal models we identified various interactions between lipids and chloride co-transporters crucial for their functionality and chloride brain homeostasis.

This radical new way of the regulation of chloride co-transporter activity linked with membrane lipid expression suggests new therapeutical strategies to treat epilepsy. By increasing the general knowledge on plasma membrane functionalities, we believe that our researches will also further contribute to identify mechanisms underlying other nervous diseases in addition to epilepsy.