WARNING: VERY LONG PAGE TO SCROLL DOWN!
January 3, 2017 - "Doing an experiment is not more important than
writing." (Edwin Boring, American psychologist).
Winter 2017 group meeting schedule
January 4, 2017 - In September last year,
Tabas and colleagues published a study in Nature Communications suggesting that an
imbalance between omega-6-derived pro-resolving mediators and
omega-6-derived leukotrienes is a causal factor of instability of
atherosclerotic plaques. This paper provides a new angle of insight
to a seemingly never ending but most stimulating controversy, and is
the one we have selected as Paper of the
January 13, 2017 - It is habitual that politicians visit things
during election campaigns. But, when not in campaign, what would be
the use for these visits? Inquiring minds want to know.
January 17, 2017 - Michael Eskin's
lipid rap back again in this section: cholesterol, cholesterol
gets the bad attention, without you there would be no lipid
digestion... nor that nice purple color in our test tube...
January 20, 2017 - Several interpretations have been made to the
Francisco de Goya's etching called "The
Sleep of Reason Produces Monsters." At some point of an
intellectual effort, a man seems to have been overcome by fatigue,
and so fell asleep. Then, creatures of the night appear and surround
him... perhaps threatening him or coming to his aid? We bet the
January 24, 2017 - Ain't no bad lipids in the heart of the city,
ain't no bad lipids in the heart of town... Talking about
lipins in Majorca island is sure nuff
January 27, 2017 - Directorial Quotation #29 "Pain is temporary,
quitting lasts forever" (Lance Armstrong, American pretender).
February 7, 2017 - Sometimes, cells arrange themselves to
simulate unexpected shapes; others, a helping hand is used to create
the structure of an inflammasome from
lipin-2-EGFP-stained cells, plus some DAPI blue. This time we did
not make it, but we will keep trying.
February 8, 2017 - Anything can be done when the drive, the
passion and, most of all, the support are there. The 2017 Eicosanoid
Research Division Group Picture here.
February 10, 2017 - The proteins of the lipin family are
phosphatidate phosphatase enzymes required for glycerolipid
biosynthesis. How lipins work and what they do in an innate immunity
context is the research subject of the E2
family of scientists at the ERD.
February 15, 2017 - Palmitvaccenic acid or cis-11-hexadecenoic
acid (16:1n-5), another isomer of palmitoleic acid, is quite
abundant in arbuscular mycorrhizal fungi, to the point that its
detection in plant roots has been regarded as an indicator of fungal
contamination. Virtually nothing is known about palmitvaccenic acid in
mammalian cells, yet we have detected it at low levels in human
macrophages. For quick reference, here
is our very nice fatty acid list.
February 20, 2017 - Meet the ERD mascot,
Felisa the rat. The rat that squeals
and squeals is a weekender, shameless rat, and reckless at the same
time, which *strives* against the living rockage.
February 22, 2017 - Trying to find innovative ideas to regain
that first place lost by crumbling support and lack of
motivation? The road is only one. Money makes the world go round,
and the scientific enterprise is no exception.
March 1, 2017 - Sciadonic acid (20:3n-6; Δ5,11,14) and
juniperonic acid (20:4n-3; Δ5,11,14,17) are fatty acids from the
plant kingdom. Because humans lack Δ8 desaturases, sciadonic acid
and juniperonic acid cannot be converted directly to arachidonic
acid and eicosapentaenoic acid, respectively. However, by combining
with elongation reactions, human cells can
make linolenic acid from sciadonic acid, and
acid from juniperonic acid. This is somewhat reminiscent of the
strategy the cells follow to make
7-hexadecenoic acid from palmitic acid.
March 7, 2017 - Directorial Quotation #30: "All truths are easy
to understand once they are discovered; the point is to discover
them" (Galileo Galilei, Italian polymath).
March 11, 2017 - The problem with placing sentiments as the main
criterion for moral judgement is that sentimental reasons and
reasoned thoughts are seldom like Forrest and Jenny, that is, peas
March 22, 2017 - It is the same old uninspiring questions which
you find discussed by newcomers to arid morning meetings,
which you find talked lazily about by old timers to unresponsive staff. What
is to be done? The only solution that can be found is what you know
about changing things so everything can stay the same.
March 23, 2017 - “The best way to have a good idea is to have a
lot of ideas” (Linus Pauling, American biochemist, Nobel Laureate in
Chemistry 1954 and
Peace 1962). Spring 2017 group meeting schedule
March 29, 2017 - Back from the 4th Madrid Meeting on Dendritic
Cells and Macrophages. Fun as usual plus that nice feeling you get
when you surround yourself with top Princess scientists... Pics
March 30, 2017 - Directorial Quotation #31: "What we believe to
be the motives of our conduct are usually but the pretexts for it"
(Miguel de Unamuno, Spanish writer and philosopher).
April 2, 2017 - Update on former ERD grad students. Our
expatriates in California, Gema, Carlos and Martín, support the
theory that healthy eating habits of
Spanish inspiration contribute to greater impact factor expectancy.
April 3, 2017 - A fine summary of our recent work on lipin-2 and... uhmm, inflammasomopathies, can be found
here in the context of the pathogenesis of autoinflammatory bone
April 12, 2017 - Sometimes "compliance with the communication
and advertising rules, and future controls and audits", leads to
somewhat ludicrous situations, such as having to post
announcements of dubious interest "at
visible places of our department, laboratory or unit." Life goes on.
April 25, 2017 - In science, sometimes it is not about making
the right decision, but just making a decision at all. We cannot
always make the right decision, but we can make every decision
count. By corollary, no objective decisions can be made without some
understanding of how science really works.
April 27, 2017 - In JBC Papers in Press there is a report
describing the involvement of group VIB phospholipase A2
in releasing oxidized fatty acyl chains from cardiolipin. The paper
explicitly acknowledges (and supports by appropriate citation) that
the selective inhibitor bromoenol lactone has many off-target
effects. Coming from where it comes, this is really a nice first.
April 28, 2017 -
Emotional stability is not to be
shaken and stirred. Resentment, frustration or desperation cloud
one's mind and make it difficult to prepare an effective response.
Aggressive attitudes are almost always counterproductive. Little by
little, everything changes.
May 4, 2017 - Never too late to do well. One year waiting for
the Explora awarding thing until it finally came out today. Now, there are some
very nice things we can do with money that we think was heaven
May 10, 2017 - A recent article in
Nature states that "in Spain, the sexenio evaluation (a salary
increase based on productivity) depends heavily on rankings derived
from journal impact factors." True, and so many other toxic things
too. Interesting article nevertheless, but likely, completely
inconsequential. Still for years to come, reviewing panels will
continue adding up three
decimal impact factor figures.
May 12, 2017 - To pick a topic in an evolving area that sets
one’s research apart from the crowd, JBC Papers in Press, William
May 24, 2017 - Directorial Quotation #32: "You have enemies?
Good. That means you’ve stood up for something, sometime in your
life" (Attributed to Winston Churchill, British politician).
May 31, 2017 - Is there a word to describe that feeling of being
surrounded by people who take it for granted that it is your job to
do everything in exchange for nothing? Maybe something like
June 8, 2017 - Directorial Quotation #33: "You will do the
greatest service to your people if you raise not the roofs of the
houses, but the souls of the citizens" (Epictetus, Greek
June 10, 2017 - The Merriam Webster dictionary defines double
talk as the language that appears to be earnest and meaningful but
in fact is a mixture of sense and nonsense. In other words, people
saying nothing with the largest number of words. Double talk is a
very frequent occurrence at those board meetings that, luckily, we
do not have to attend very often.
June 13, 2017 - “If you cannot, in the long run, tell everyone
what you have been doing, your doing has been worthless" (Erwin
Schrödinger, Austrian physicist, Nobel Laureate in Physics 1933).
Summer 2017 group meeting schedule
June 23, 2017 - It was only a matter of time, how the mighty
have fallen! The JBC has dropped to Q2. There it joins other
illustrious journals which had fallen down the precipice years before:
Biochemistry, Biochemical Journal or FEBS Journal. The immediate
consequence for us is that the journal that for years has been
the journal, the leading exponent of the best lipid science, is
another one to be avoided from now on. Otherwise our research would
fall out of the scope of that ethereal but undetermined concept
called 'stairway to excellence'. Most definitely, something is
rotten in the state of science.
June 27, 2017 - Directorial Quotation #34: "What is common to
many is least taken care of, for all men have greater regard for
what is their own than what they possess in common with others"
(Aristotle, Greek philosopher).
June 29, 2017 - Another one from Aristotle that describes very
well our latest conundrum: "Amicus Plato, sed magis amica veritas"
(Plato is my friend, but truth is a greater friend). Dangerous people
those who intend to free us from things we do not want to be freed
July 5, 2017 - Another year,
another CIBERDEM Annual
Report. Things could get bad, things could get worse, we guess you
will know the tune.
July 6, 2017 - In JLR Papers in Press there is an interesting
Kuefner et al. showing that restoring the group IIA
gene to C57BL/6 mice, which do not express this gene naturally due
to a frameshift mutation, protects the animals from obesity. The
effect is thought to be due to activation of mitochondrial uncoupling in brown adipose tissue. New
roles for an old enzyme.
July 11, 2017 - Another quotation from that endless
well of wisdom
called Charles Barkley comes in very handy to describe recent
events: "You got to believe in yourself. Hell, I believe I'm the
best-looking guy in the world and I might be right." Still no
July 25, 2017 - As a follow up on the topic discussed in the June
23 entry, looking over the WoS journal list for the field of
Immunology, we have noticed that some influential journals such as
the Journal of Leukocyte Biology or the European Journal of
Immunology are, and have been for a while, in Q2. The Journal of
Immunology is not, but it is getting closer. No one could say it
better than Blasa: Oh Lord, take me with You soon!
August 1, 2017 - Does the treatment of titanium surfaces with
argon plasma improve its performance? Does it
change macrophage activation properties? And, more importantly, what
does this have to do with lipid signaling and metabolism in
inflammation? Time might tell.
August 7, 2017 - This cartoon
was published around 2010, when the economic crisis threatened to
wipe out our beloved institution. Today, more than seven years after
and despite so many promises, there is still the impression that we will be
stuck in the three still for a long time to come.
September 5, 2017 - Wikipedia defines illusory superiority as a
cognitive bias whereby a person overestimates his or her own
qualities and abilities in relation to the same qualities and
abilities of other persons. A rather frequent demeanor in the
neighborhood, the real problem
with it is that we all end up
losing. Ignoring this problem does nothing more than make it worse.
September 8, 2017 - We just learned of the death of H. Alex
Brown from the Sep issue of ASBMB Today. We met Alex in the 90's
when, finished his postdoc, he came to San Diego for a job
interview. Alex Brown was one of the most recognizable names in
phospholipase D research, a stagnant field not so long ago that he
helped revitalize with his chemical biology approaches. He also did
a lot of glycerophospholipid analysis by mass spectrometry, and we
read his papers with true devotion. Sadly, there will be no more
September 14, 2017 - Directorial Quotation #35: "There is
no harm in repeating a good thing" (Plato, Greek philosopher)
September 20, 2017 - An unexpected role for ethanolamine
plasmalogen hydrolysis in lipopolysaccharide priming of macrophages
for enhanced arachidonic acid mobilization, coming soon to your
local eicosanoid library (a.k.a
Publications, there on the left hand side menu). By the way,
this is going to be our first paper in an Open Access journal.
September 25, 2017 - "It is a pleasure to be able to quote lines
to fit any occasion" (Abraham Lincoln, President of the U.S.). Fall 2017 group meeting schedule
September 28, 2017 - What is science policy? You ask me while
you rivet into my pupil your pupil of blue. Science policy? And
you're asking me? Science policy... it is not you, it is to forge out
laws in secret rooms (with thanks to Gustavo Adolfo for
October 11, 2017 - Amidst the blowing of increasingly stronger
scipol winds, we have learned that according to the IUPAC, 'cholesteryl
ester' is wrong. It should be 'cholesterol ester'. The term
cholesteryl should be used when referring to particular species
only, e.g. cholesteryl hexadecenoate, cholesteryl palmitoleate,
cholesteryl sapienate, etc. Thanks to the Lipid Web for that one.
October 13, 2017 - Yes, we all know that Magneto was mad, the
Titanium Man too, and the Crimson Dynamo just couldn't cut it no
more, but the most obnoxious of the trio is by far, the man in the
middle. The only man, the fool of a man in the middle.
October 25, 2017 - The Annual Meeting of the Spanish Biochemical
Society is being held these days in Barcelona in association with
the French and Portuguese societies. Surrounded by one hundred and
fifty-five rumors of agitation, lipins
enjoyed their fair share of exposure.
October 31, 2017 - Directorial Quotation #36: "It is better to
be hated for what you are than to be loved for what you are not”
(André Gide, Nobel Laureate in Literature 1947).
November 7, 2017 - What is better to science, the paradox or the
prejudice? If we ignore the fool on the hill who counts the falling
tears that fall before his eyes, we must conclude that it has to be
November 20, 2017 - Back from Brazil, where we attended the 11th
International Congress of Pharmaceutical Sciences, held at
São Paulo state. As usual, we enjoyed the warm brazilian hospitality
at its best.
November 21, 2017 - Directorial Quotation #37: "A muleteer told
me that you do not have to get there first, you just have to know how to
get there” (José Alfredo Jiménez, Mexican king songwriter).
November 22, 2017 - Old conventional wisdom has it that sapienic
acid is a fatty acid present in human sebum, skin and nails. Given
our recent editorial experiences with this fatty acid, one could say
as well that there is much of it in blood, sweat
and tears. By the way, sapienic acid is also found at significant
levels in phagocytic cells; go to your favorite eicosanoid
library to check it out!
November 27, 2017 - Extra Directorial Quotation: “Wise men speak
because they have something to say; fools because they have to say
something” (Plato, Greek philosopher).
December 14, 2017 - Those who study without interest always fail
to remember that there is a pot of gold at the other end of the
rainbow. Else, those who seek petty revenge for things they do not
agree with always fail to take into account that the best revenge is
December 19, 2017 - Directorial Quotation #39: "You never know
what is enough unless you know what is more than enough" (William
Blake, English poet).
December 20, 2017 - It has been suggested that titanium exposure
may be harmful to the brain, in particular to glial cells, which
include the astrocytes. Astrocytes are known as rich sources of
arachidonic acid and its oxygenated metabolites. Morale of the story: if your sixth sense says no, get to
December 28, 2017 - Our latest palmitoleic paper (to appear
the JLR) ranks 23rd, out of 43 entries, in the
"Most-Read Articles during October thru November 2017" list. Not bad
considering that our paper was first published in the Papers in
Press section on Nov 21. With this exhilarating news we say goodbye
to this year and wait for the next one, which promises to begin in a
pretty hectic way.
January 8, 2018 - "Don't try to be a great man, just be a man
and let history make its own judgment" (Zephram Cochrane, rocket
scientist. Also a Roy Orbison fan). Winter 2018 group meeting schedule
January 15, 2018 - Our Paper of the Year
2017 was published in the November issue of Nature Medicine by
Arai and colleagues. The work describes a new pathway regulated
by PAF acetyl hydrolase that results in the generation of omega-3
fatty acid epoxides as new lipid mediators of mast cell-mediated
January 16, 2018 - Directorial Quotation #40: "One of the
penalties for refusing to participate in politics is that you end up
being governed by your inferiors" (Plato, Greek philosopher).
January 19, 2018 - The flight of Icarus, in addition to being a
fine Iron Maiden song, is a great reminder that the wax of reality
may melt for so many reasons, and the floor is a very hard place to
fall. Recurring thoughts for the day.
January 23, 2018 - This year the trilling blackbirds have taken
longer than usual to make themselves noticed. Today, the first day
that their singing finally floods the dawn of the city, also come in
those who like to make
themselves noticed. Preserve your
memories, they're all that's left
January 27, 2018 - Good things, they say, usually come in threes;
omne trium perfectum - everything that comes
in threes is perfect.
There is lies, damn lies and statistics, the three little pigs, the
bad, the good and the ugly... and there is also the education, the
science and the future.
January 30, 2018 - Essential fatty acid deficiency, especially
for cells in culture, is seldom appreciated. Very few
studies have been carried out to document alterations in phospholipid molecular species as a result of serum starvation or
depletion of polyunsaturated fatty acids during tissue culture. A
paper by the Murphy group just appearing in JLR Papers in Press
fills the gap, and shows the replacement of arachidonic acid with
mead acid in particular phospholipid species as cells are kept in
culture, this leading to marked changes in the overall eicosanoid
February 7, 2018 - Some scattered thoughts that cross one's mind
after browsing today's press: "let them invent, that later we will
take advantage of their inventions. For, I trust and
hope you will be convinced as
I am, the electric bulb shines equally well here as in the
place where it was invented." Different situation, same idea,
February 8, 2018 - Didn't they want some news releases? Here is
one: "Novel lipids as possible markers for immunometabolic diseases"
News section of the official website of CIBER-ISCIII (in
Spanish; use the browser's built-in translator).
February 9, 2018 - A technological note on lipids just published
Nature Methods caught our eye for its subheading, an ultimate
declaration of lipidological principles: "Fats add structure, they
signal, they interact. In the lab, lipids are tough to work with but
worth the challenge."
February 13, 2018 - Several years ago it was
reported that the orphan receptor GPR120 is an omega-3 fatty
acid receptor which mediates the anti-inflammatory and
insulin-sensitizing effects of these fatty acids. A very recent
paper in Cell Metabolism suggests that other orphan receptor,
GP40, is engaged by members of the novel family of fatty acid hydroxy fatty acyl esters. Grab some soda and pop corn and get ready
to enjoy future works on this engaging subject (no pun intended).
February 16, 2018 - It took quite a bit more than blood, sweat
and tears, but our new toy, a QTRAP
4500, the fifth of the series, is home at last. Now it is our turn
to see how beautifully this little monster does.
February 20, 2018 - Dennis Vance, another of the lipid research
giants of our era, wrote a very enjoyable
Reflection article last fall in JBC. In it, we read:
"Previously, one could possibly have developed an inhibitor of PEMT
(phosphatidylethanolamine N-methyltransferase) that might
have revealed the role of PEMT in evolutionary biology. However,
there is always concern about incomplete inhibition and off-target
effects of inhibitors, whereas gene-targeting technology is very
specific and unambiguous." True, of course, but just in the previous
paragraph, the author noted that in Pmet-/- animals the
amount of the active form of hepatic CTP:phosphocholine
cytidylyltransferase is 60% higher than in wild type animals, to
maintain phosphatidylcholine levels. So we wonder, could not gene
compensations in k.o. animals have an influence on something?
March 7, 2018 - Our recent JLR paper on palmitoleic acid isomers
in phagocytic cells is commented
upon briefly but very accurately in the
Lipid Web blog. This is the third time that our work is
mentioned in such a prestigious place. We thank Bill Christie for the
March 14, 2018 - Today the earth and the heavens smile at me;
today the sun reaches the bottom of my soul; today I've looked at
the calendar... I've looked at it and I have realized that...
today's the day! (With thanks to Gustavo Adolfo for the titanic
March 22, 2018 - Directorial Quotation #41: “If history repeats
itself, and the unexpected always happens, how incapable must Man be
of learning from experience” (George Bernard Shaw, Irish
March 23, 2018 - Why is it that people complaining all day that
things do not get done, always tend to forget that things do not get
done on their own? Why is it that people always expect that others
will get the things moving?
March 26, 2018 - "The secret is in not going too heavy on the
sauces" (Abraracourcix, Gaulish gourmet).
Spring 2018 group meeting schedule
April 2, 2018 - Back from the Bioactive Lipids Conference held
in Athens, Greece. Wonderful moments, both in and out the conference
room. Maybe Cyprus awaits us, maybe.
April 6, 2018 - Following on from the previous entry, it is
amazing to realize the legacy of words of wisdom that the ancient
Greeks left for us. For example, Pericles, the man behind the
construction of the Parthenon, argued that just because one does not
take an interest in politics doesn’t mean politics won’t take an
interest in one... which is somehow related with things that
April 12, 2018 - It seems there will not be CIBERDEM Annual
Report this year, at least not the way we used to know it. Not
that we will miss it much, though.
April 13, 2018 - Directorial Quotation #42: “Men are only clever
at shifting blame from their own shoulders to those of others.”
(Titus Livius, Roman historian).
April 18, 2018 - Story is that of a wise vice chairman, so poor
and miserable he was, that subsisted by eating only the wild herbs he could gather. Will there be another person, he mused
to himself, who is poorer and sadder than me? And when he looked
back, the answer found out after noticing a
flock of directors who were collecting
the herbs he had discarded (liberally taken from Calderón de la
Barca's "Life Is a Dream"). Morale of the story: "Don" without a
"din", bollocks in Latin.
April 26, 2018 - Nice
trick that of the JBC Editor, Lila Gierasch, to advertise a new
ASBMB journal, which was none other than the JBC itself. New
directions, approaches and overt enthusiasm, yes, but the editorial
falls to acknowledge the progressive decline in relevance of the
journal over the years, at least in the lipid area. For many
authors, including of course us, JBC was not just another journal;
it was the journal. These are changing times also for
scientific publishing, and those who do not adapt are doomed to
perish. Whether JBC is moving in a successful direction we do not
know. We do hope so.
April 27, 2018 - Historical fact taken from
here: Ludwig Thudichum, a guy who, much deservedly, pops up into
these pages from time to time, discovered the molecular composition
of what was then called lecithin (today phosphatidylcholine) in...
May 7, 2018 - In the end it all comes to the same thing: no
matter what you do or what they think, there will always be room for
troublemakers. And, of course, a wolf in sheep's clothing is still a
May 18, 2018 - After the pomps of the takeover speech of the
incumbent of the Rectorial Chair of the University of
Valladolid have vanished, the reminder was made that the latest
rankings of Spanish universities place the University of Valladolid
in the 63rd position out of 65 institutions analyzed.
May 26, 2018 - Back from the Annual CIBERDEM Meeting, held in
Cerdanyola del Vallès, Barcelona. Friendly atmosphere, as always.
Other than that, we would not know what to say.
May 31, 2018 - Directorial Quotation #43: "Four fifths of all
our troubles in this life would disappear if we would just sit down
and keep still" (Calvin Coolidge, 30th President of the USA).
June 5, 2018 - An old battle hymn states that there
cannot be duties without rights, and no right should come without
duty. Today, it is not uncommon to find people who tend to forget
their duties but never forget their rights.
June 6, 2018 - New government in Spain and a new ministry for us
to depend on, it could not be otherwise. We leave Economy (thank
goodness) and return to the Ministry of Science and Innovation,
which has been brought back to life. They have added now "and
Universities" at the end of the name, but that does not seem to
hurt. Time to update the stationery and all that fun stuff.
June 7, 2018 - Despite the evergrowing difficulties we have to
face day in day out, our eicosanoid brigantine keeps sailing on
without any fear, because neither enemy ship nor calm nor storm is
able to stop her course or subdue her courage. In other words, we
have been very successful again in our applications to the annual
regional distribution of graduate scholarships.
June 13, 2018 - "The nation is quite able to take up arms but is
also very disorganized. Thus the one who can hold it united and
in order will manage to obtain great things from it" (King Ferdinand
II of Aragon and V of Castile).
Summer 2018 group meeting schedule
June 14, 2018 - Lucia Faccioli, friend and colleague from the
University of Sao Paulo just finished her three-day visit to our
institute and shared some interesting data on new functions for old
eicosanoids. Lipid science and fun, in
and out the lab, mesh well together.
June 22, 2018 - Directorial Quotation #44: "Everything should be
made as simple as possible, but not simpler" (Albert Einstein,
German physicist, Nobel Laureate in Physics 1921).
June 29, 2018 - The latest installment on journal impact factors
is already here and... as predicted (see 07/25/17 entry), the
Journal of Immunology joins the JBC and other illustrious journals
in Q2. Another one we cannot/should not afford to consider for
publishing our work. This is getting really really ludicrous.
July 5, 2018 - While in human or murine primary macrophages
group V secreted phospholipase A2
is well described to be strongly up-regulated by interleukins -4
and -13, and much less so by bacterial lipopolysaccharide or
zymosan, the situation is surprisingly the opposite when
macrophage-like cells lines are used. Long time ago we reported on
this using the P388D1
cell line, and here is similar data
using RAW264.7 cells, which are by far and large the most utilized
July 11, 2018 - Everything and anything you need to know about
the in vivo specificities of major phospholipase A2s,
soon to hit your favorite eicosanoid news
July 12, 2018 - More good news coming hot off the press:
regulatory roles of ethanolamine plasmalogens in macrophage
July 20, 2018 - Napoleon Bonaparte said about the Spaniards that
they were "a mob of villagers guided by a rabble of priests."
Probably that was before Bailén, but what matters is that
much of the behavior that motivated Napoleon's comment is still
July 27, 2018 - "And you shall hear of wars and rumors of
wars, see that you be not troubled, for all these things must come
to pass, but the end is not yet." (Matthew 24:6). Or: "Man accepts
as logical and reasonable all that is appropriate to his
selfishness, placing it above reality," from Vicente Blasco Ibáñez's
The Four Horsemen of Apocalypse.
August 1, 2018 - Contrary to our initial skepticism, commercial
fish oil supplements seem to
what the label says they contain. On the opposite
side, commercial salmon usually contains lower omega-3 than expected
because it is not wild salmon as generally marketed, but farmed
salmon. This comes on the back of a very recent position
paper by the American Heart Association regarding omega-3 fatty
acids, where it is recommended that "one to two seafood meals per
week be included to reduce the risk of congestive heart failure,
coronary heart disease, ischemic stroke, and sudden cardiac death."
August 2, 2018 - A recent study published by
Pflimlin et al. in the August 7 issue of Cell Metabolism
shows that fatty acid esters of hydroxy fatty acids (FAHFA) do not affect glucose uptake,
insulin, or GLP-1 release in vitro. Further, administration of FAHFA
to diet-induced obese mice do not significantly
improve their deranged metabolic status. The overall conclusion is
that the data "do not support the further development of FAHFAs for
the control of insulin resistance and hyperglycemia." Very unexpected
August 16, 2018 - Novel roles for lipin-1 in intestinal
inflammation and colon carcinogenesis coming soon to your favorite
August 18, 2018 - Yesterday we surpassed the threshold of
100,000 visits to our humble website. Eleven years were needed to
reach the milestone, roughly 9,100 visits per year. Not bad for such
a small site like this. We do know we need some serious facelift,
and may be working on it.
September 14, 2018 - We must always follow our own instincts and
not allow to be deceived by the enchanting singing of sirens. This
way we will avoid to be surprised by news like the one we just
received which, in reality, does nothing but confirm that some
things are in desperate need for a change.
September 18, 2018 - "It doesn't matter if you fall down as long
as you pick up something from the floor while you get up." (Efraim
Racker, Austrian American biochemist). Fall 2018 group meeting schedule
September 20, 2018 - Being scientifically ignored may hurt some
people. Most of the times this is not intentional, they may have not
noticed your work yet. Just yet. It is you job, not theirs, to
change the situation.
September 21, 2018 - Directorial Quotation #45: "To avoid
criticism, do nothing, say nothing, be nothing." (Elbert Hubbard,
September 26, 2108 - Extra Directorial Quotation (very, very
appropriate): "He who can, does. He who cannot, teaches." (George
Bernard Shaw, Irish writer, Nobel Laureate in Literature 1925).
October 8, 2018 - They make your day when they say you are so
enterprising and influential. Others can't say the same, ha ha.
October 16, 2018 - Directorial Quotation #47: "I try. I fail. I
try again. I fail better" (Samuel Beckett, Irish writer, Nobel
Laureate in Literature 1969).
October 18, 2018 - Guess what is the Regional "Consolidated
Research Unit" (JCyL-UIC) that ranks #1 in terms of scientific
excellence? Yes, you guessed right.
October 23, 2018 - Our latest collaborative
effort with CIBERDEM colleagues concerns with lipid changes underlying brown adipose tissue
adaptation to cold under low adrenergic signaling conditions.
October 24, 2018 - Directorial Quotation #48: "Only a few men
seek freedom, the majority seek nothing more than fair masters."
(Sallust, Roman historian).
November 2, 2018 - Cold winds blowing in
Norway, and little birds telling us
that the local scientific thing keeps going smooth. More
on this when circumstances permit.
November 8, 2018 - The paper by Pflimlin et al. referred to in
the August 2 entry above that called into question the anti-diabetic
and anti-inflammatory effects of FAHFAs, is generating interesting
here. Not that this was unexpected, but time for soda and
November 9, 2018 - We have become aware that
Cyberlipid Center, a veteran and most useful lipid website,
lists our site under the section "Sites directly involved in fats
and lipids". Glad to be in such illustrious company.
November 13, 2018 - It is with great sadness that we learned of
the death of Julián Gómez Cambronero, friend in lipid research for
so many years, and one of the last phospholipase D heroes. The
famous 'clam chowder incident' with him up there in Connecticut that
caused us to miss our flight back to Cali and spend a whole night
long at Logan airport still brings us fond memories.
November 20, 2018 - Directorial Quotation #49: "It doesn't matter whether the water is cold
or warm if you have to wade through it anyway” (Pierre Teilhard de
Chardin, French philosopher).
November 21, 2018 - 'Cause they need somebody to tell them that
advanced lab techniques are gonna last forever, so tell me have they ever really
really really ever enjoyed an opening act?
November 23, 2018 - The little birds of Nov. 2 were not accurate and our
initial expectations have not been fulfilled. Sad thing is, it is
extremely unlikely that someone will be caught with his/her hand in the
November 27, 2018 - Directorial Quotation #50: "If those who
speak badly of me knew exactly what I think of them, they would
speak worse" (Sacha Guitry, French playwright).
December 1, 2018 - The least suitable person to lead the pack
says he has a dream; the rest of us say we may be entering a
December 3, 2018 - Directorial Quotation #51: "In governing I learned to move from the ethics of principles
to the ethics of responsibilities" (Felipe González, Former Prime
Minister of Spain).
December 4, 2018 - Following
Dio's advice, we have made the decision to lock up the wolves
for the next four years. Yes, don't we let' em go away.
December 5, 2018 - Directorial Quotation #52 (hopefully the last
one): "As the blessings of health and fortune have a beginning, so
they must also find an end." (Sallust, Roman historian).
December 19, 2018 - The latest evaluation of our research output
and that of the neighborhood we stay in has produced the expected results. Of
course, the response generated was also the expected: zero, nada.
December 28, 2018 - As the year comes to a close, we remember
that we predicted just one year ago that 2018 would commence in a
pretty hectic way. Yes, that was so, and it continued and ended in
the same manner. Let us hope we do not return to the old conflicting
January 4, 2019 - "Rich countries are rich because they dedicate
money to scientific and technological development, and poor
countries remain poor because they do not. Science is not expensive,
what is expensive is ignorance" (Bernardo Houssay, Argentine
physiologist, Nobel Laureate in Physiology or Medicine 1947). Winter 2019 group meeting schedule
January 8, 2019 - In the Feb 22 issue of Nature Communications,
the crystal structure of group VIA calcium-independent phospholipase
was at long last revealed. Although some of the statements made in
the paper are extremely debatable, this work clearly constitutes a
breakthrough in the field, and will likely help develop new concepts
on enzyme catalysis and inhibitor design. This is the article we
have distinguished as Paper of the Year 2018.
January 9, 2019 - It was fun while it lasted. A burden
sometimes, we admit it, but in most cases an enjoyable and worthwhile
experience if only for the looks of thrill and delight on the faces
of a few of the teenagers.
January 21, 2019 - The official 2019 Group Picture of the
Eicosanoid Research Division can be found
here. No one missed it this
January 22, 2019 - At the definitive end of the road, it is good
to keep in mind that staying away in silence is not at all an act of
cowardice. Many times it is rather the most courageous thing one can
do to protect the inner light within.
29, 2019 - The clot scandal that has recently spread across the
national newspapers teaches us once again that the thing that
matters the least in the world of science is precisely science.
February 4, 2019 - Caproic (6:0), caprylic (8:0) and capric
(10:0) are medium chain fatty acids found at relatively high
quantities in goat milk (capra means goat in Latin). Although their
smell is rather unpleasant, their esters are commonly used in
perfumery and for artificial flavoring, which is quite ironic.
Caprylic acid in particular may also have some anti-inflammatory
effects but this needs further thorough investigation. For quick
reference, here is our old nice fatty
February 15, 2019 - Some folks like to lie to themselves and say
that we were born silver spoon in hand, but it ain't us, we ain't no
fortunate sons. We just did a few things the right way, and thus
have fine good people doing things the right way,
mass spec for example. No matter what
they say, it ain't us, we ain't no millionaire's sons, we ain't no
February 22, 2019 - From the Journal of Lipid
Editorial Policy: "Acquisition of funding, collection of data,
or general supervision of the research group alone does not
constitute authorship." Fine, but as the old proverb goes, love
means deeds, not sweet reasons.
February 28, 2019 - To consider is to think carefully about
(something), typically before making a decision. To reconsider is to
consider (something) again, especially for a possible change of
decision regarding it. No examples of the former word yet at hand,
so here is one of the latter: "I guess you've changed your mind. Why
don't you reconsider baby, give yourself just a little more time."
Elvis always delivers.
March 6, 2019 - In science, as in real life, not everything has
a solution. It is a mistake to try to find solutions for everything,
because old dogs are not willing to learn new tricks, that is clear.
March 11, 2019 - Interesting if somewhat smelly fact: dead
cockroaches give off a blend of various fatty acids, primarily oleic and linoleic, the
odor of which warns other fellow roaches roaming
around that they may be entering a danger zone. Similarly, the smell
of oleic acid allows ants to recognize a dead comrade ready to be
carried to the ant cemetery.
March 14, 2019 - Looking back at the not so distant past, it
fills us with pride and satisfaction to declare how lovely it is
when a plan finally comes together.
March 18, 2019 - "Nature is trying to tell us something. In
fact, she's screaming in our ears. If we would only listen" (John
A. Glomset, American biochemist). Spring 2019 group meeting schedule
March 21, 2019 - Spring alters the blood (it sounds so
much better in Spanish). Four years ago, the good guys at DiabetesFede featured our work in their magazine. They did it again
and.. well, you read it. We may well be the only group affiliated to
CIBERDEM that has been interviewed twice by the magazine.
April 1, 2019 - Inspiring advice from another of the
lipid giants of our era: Bill Smith's
Reflections in JBC. Among the many pearls of wisdom contained in
the article, we selected this: "I (Bill Smith, graduate student) was
showing him (Bill Lands, thesis advisor) some data that I had been
too lazy to interpret. He listened briefly, gave me a disdainful
look, and then walked away without saying anything. He was actually
'saying' that it was time for me to grow up and take charge of my
project. And I did."
April 2, 2019 - Now that the Directorial Quotations are gone for
good, it looks like a good idea to bring to life something similar
but slightly different: the Current Quotations, yay! Of course, in
the same good-spirited manner as always. Here is #1: "Between the inappropriateness of disrespecting our
foe and the indignity of smiling at him, there is a fair
middle ground: to ignore him." Rafael Sánchez Ferlosio died on a
Monday and in Madrid.
April 9, 2019 - The following was said long ago, 21 centuries to
be precise, by Pompeius Trogus, Gallo-Roman historian:
"Spaniards are fierce and very brave, but with a big flaw; when they
do not have an external enemy against whom to fight, they pass time
fighting each other." It is remarkable that after so many years, we are
still in the exact same place. By the way, that was Current
April 11, 2019 - Formation of FAHFA (fatty acid esters of
hydroxy fatty acids) as a possible protective mechanism to
counteract the pro-apoptotic effects of hydroxy fatty acids
accumulating in cells? Find it in your favorite eicosanoid
April 17, 2019 - Science history papers are always so much
fun to read.
Here is the latest one, the history of aspirin, from Sumerian
and Egyptian times to the present.
May 7, 2019 - Current Quotation #3: "Why do you see the speck that is in your brother's
eye, but do not notice the log that is in your own eye? How can you
say to your brother, ‘Brother, let me take out the speck that is in
your eye,’ when you yourself do not see the log that is in your own
eye?" (Luke 6:41-42). Most definitely, to keep order in our
nation no trivial matter it is.
May 17, 2019 - There may be ladies who are sure that all that
glitters is gold, but in truth it is not what people think, but what they, in their inner self, know. So, when
you see some ladies shining white light, do not be too confident
that everything will still turn to gold.
May 22, 2019 - Bilbao is definitely a place for serious mass
spec-based lipidomic research. That is one reason why it is
always a pleasure to visit the city. Other reasons are the
mushrooms, walnuts and chestnuts, the headsets and the husbands...
So much to choose from.
June 3, 2019 - Lipins, signaling hubs in innate immunity and
inflammation, coming soon to your favorite eicosanoid
June 5, 2019 - Another
palmitoleic acid isomer, the one having the double bound at C10,
has been found to possess anti-inflammatory properties, just like
the n-9, n-7 and n-10 isomers. This novel n-6 isomer is synthesized
by bacteria and accumulates in triacylglycerol. There seems to be a
pattern in here...
June 12, 2019 - "A time will come when our descendants will
be amazed to find out that we did not know things that are so obvious to them" (Lucius Annaeus Seneca, Spanish-Roman philosopher). Summer 2019 group meeting schedule
June 14, 2019 - Sometimes things just do not work out the way
they were planned. Usually there is a good reason for it. While the
detrimental influence of the "one size fits all" approach currently
in place cannot be left aside, doing less than the competition or
resting on one's laurels is rarely a good strategy for
July 5, 2019 - "Monkey see, monkey do" is an expression used,
according to the
Free Dictionary, to refer to children imitating and copying what
they see adults or other children do. Interestingly, some grown-ups
in the neighborhood frequently behave the same. Trouble is, they may
also be pretty annoying, sometimes even dangerous. Like monkeys with
guns, you know.
July 12, 2019 - Current Quotation #4: "The surest way to work up
a crusade in favor of some good cause is to promise people they will
have a chance of mistreating someone" (Aldous Huxley, English
writer and philosopher).
July 26, 2019 - Double submission has been
defined as "the submission to a journal of a paper that is under
concurrent review by another publication." Note that 'concurrent' is
the operative word here. Whether this is a dishonest practice or
not, depends on who you ask.
Some will argue that this is merely a strategy to save time.
Publishers will consider it unethical, mostly for possible copyright
violations. Whatever the side of the fence one is in, better not
tempt the Fates.
July 29, 2019 - Read in a letter of advice to candidates
applying for a research position in some fancy university: "Working
efficiently is more expected than working hard, even if one does not
exclude the other and vice versa." Ah, those were the times!
July 31, 2019 - Hot off the press: New roles for cytosolic
in phospholipid arachidonic acid remodeling,
August 5, 2019 - We have come to realize that most people ignore
the difference between the two ways to designate a fatty acid with
double bonds, the omega system and the n–x (n minus x) system. Well,
they may look the same, and in practical terms they do not differ
much but, truth be told, they do not mean the same. We posted this
like five years ago and re-post it again for those with restless
ears: n is a magnitude (number of carbons), ω is just a name to
designate the last carbon of the chain; n–x is a subtraction, ω-x is
not. n–x gives us the position of the last double bond counting from
the carboxyl group, which is, incidentally, the proper way to count
fatty acid carbons. ω-x indicates, counting from the terminal methyl
group or omega end, the carbon at which the first double bond
occurs. Let's take arachidonic acid (20:4) as an
example: it is an n–6 fatty acid because
its last double bond is located at C14 (20 minus 6); it is an ω-6
fatty acid because if we look at the molecule from the terminal
methyl group, the first unsaturation occurs at the sixth carbon
(which is C15).
August 9, 2019 - It is great to receive good news from time to
time, especially about matters you had almost completely forgotten or had not much confidence that they would work as planned.
August 13, 2019 - Current Quotation #5: "The Lord gave and the
Lord has taken away; blessed be the name of the Lord” (Job 1:21).
August 19, 2019 - Membrane phospholipids or neutral lipids as
primary sources of free arachidonic acid for lipid mediator
signaling in monocytes? Bet on the former
September 17, 2019 - "We, scientists (of developing countries),
must always keep in mind that we were able to study thanks to the
resources provided by all our compatriots. Our duty is to repay this
debt by working in our country and trying to take it forward"
(Bernardo Houssay, Argentine physiologist, Nobel Laureate in
Physiology or Medicine 1947). Fall 2019 group meeting schedule
September 18, 2019 - Current Quotation #6: "In the first place,
God made idiots. That was for practice. Then he made (medical)
school boards" (Mark Twain, American writer).
September 25, 2019 - Quantification in mass spec-based
lipidomics is a tough issue. It is usually very difficult, sometimes
impossible, to compare data from different laboratories. Lack of
adequate standards to choose from, normalization methods etc.,
plague the interpretations. Good thing about it, not all biological
studies must be strictly quantitative. Not even semi-quantitative.
Sometimes you only need a qualitative glimpse to realize what is
October 10, 2019 - Grant writing season can be really hectic,
especially when you have other deadlines to take care of.
Incidentally, and tellingly, the English Wikipedia is the only that
contains an entry on
October 22, 2019 - "Hate graduate school?
Avoid these common
mistakes students make." Good points, interesting reading.
October 31, 2019 - Current Quotation #7: “Collective fear
stimulates herd instinct, and tends to produce ferocity toward those
who are not regarded as members of the herd” (Bertrand Russell,
British writer and philosopher, Nobel Laureate in Literature 1950).
November 6, 2019 - What cannot be is not and, in addition, is
impossible. Well, sometimes not.
The hopeless persistence of the minnow.
November 11, 2019 - Back from the 10th edition of the CIBERDEM
meeting, held in Mataró. It would have
to be said that we are no longer singing by the great avenues.
November 15, 2019 - Itziar
Sanjuán successfully defended today her PhD dissertation, titled
"Lipin-2 Regulation of Palmitic Acid-Induced NLRP3 Inflammasome Activation in
November 18, 2019 - Nagore de Pablo
successfully defended today her PhD dissertation, titled "Modulation
of Macrophage Antiviral Responses by Lipin-2: Type 1 Interferon,
Inflammasome, and Cholesterol Homeostasis."
November 21, 2019 - Palma, a classical holiday
destination, especially for Germans, is also the home of some
interesting mass spectrometry work, which we were given the
opportunity to know a bit better.
November 22, 2019 - Not a two without a three,
Patricia Lebrero brilliantly
defended today her doctoral dissertation, titled "Phospholipid
Arachidonic Acid Remodeling in Macrophages: Role of Plasmalogen
November 25, 2019 - Urge surfing, an interesting concept. Some
psychotherapists suggest that an urge usually lasts for no more than
30 minutes. Individuals can therefore “ride out” these urges simply
by becoming more aware of their transient nature. It is when you
feel a strong urge to do something, but instead of acting on it you
just “surf” on the feeling, riding it “up” and “down” until it dies
down completely. Fished out from the
net, gotta work harder on this, truly.
December 5, 2019 - Positions, positions, open positions
everywhere.... but here. How was that saying about sowing winds and
reaping whirlwinds? Someone connect the dots, it's simple.
December 11, 2019 - Current Quotation #8: "I still believe she
was my twin, but I lost the ring. She was born in spring, but I was
born too late. Blame it on a simple twist of fate" (Bob Dylan,
American singer and songwriter, Nobel Laureate in Literature 2016). And speaking
of twists of fate,
here is an entertaining review on lipid droplets and
inflammatory lipid mediators.
December 18, 2019 - It makes us smile when people come to us to
do lipidomic analyses without any selected targets or educated
expectations of what to search for (other than gathering lots and
lots of nice ups and downs of mysterious molecular species, of
course). Things do not work that way, at least for us.
January 7, 2020 - Current Quotation #9: "We do not
need a perfect government; we just need one that is practical"
(Aristotle, Greek philosopher).
January 10, 2020 - Our often hilarious former Prime Minister
Mariano Rajoy once contended that Galileo Galilei had said that
"movement always accelerates when it is going to stop." Like today,
some things have to get worse before they get better.
January 14, 2020 - "There is no such thing as applied science,
only the application of science" (Louis Pasteur, French
microbiologist). Winter 2020 group meeting schedule
January 15, 2020 - Find
here an entertaining and humbling reflection paper by Bob
Murphy, one of the giants of the lipid mass spectrometry field, and
also one of the scientists who has had a major influence and impact
on our own recent work.
January 16, 2020 - Current Quotation #10: "Don't think he has
anything against you if you come across him on the street and
he doesn't say goodbye; it's only that he didn't notice you" (Joan
Manuel Serrat, Spanish singer and songwriter).
January 21, 2020 -
Phospholipases, from Structure to Biological Function, a special
issue of the journal Biomolecules not to be missed!
February 1, 2020 - Our Paper of the Year
2019 was published in the vanity journal par excellence, Nature.
Vriens et al. described that cancer cells and related cell lines
exhibit elevated levels of the unusual fatty acid sapienic acid
(6-cis-hexadecenoic acid, 16:1n-10). Although this finding is in
itself not novel (we published on this before, see
here), to apply and extend
the concept to metabolic rewiring in cancer it certainly is.
February 3, 2020 - Current Quotation #11: "Non calentarum,
largum vivirum" (Anonymous adage, likely of Argentinian origin.
For a rough translation click
February 10, 2020 - Cultured cell lines are known to be
deficient in polyunsaturated fatty acid content. This a peculiarity
that may influence much of the responses of these cells to external
stimuli. Yet, most people seem not to be aware of, or care much
about, this. Hopefully things change a bit now that this convenient
review came out.
February 17, 2020 - Disheartening as it may be, history always
repeats itself. Unless you are willing to help yourself, the Nothing
ends up getting hold of you. Something more will be missing every
day and, in the end, there won't be anything left. Talk about
principles and good deeds.
February 24, 2020 - Neat things we learned today: Phospholipase
D activity can be optimally monitored in continuously mixed
two-phase systems consisting of buffer and an apolar solvent (at
least the microbial enzymes). The organic solvent dissolves the
phospholipid substrates and products whereas the enzyme is presumed
to be in the aqueous layer or at the interface between the aqueous
and the organic phase. The enzymatic reaction is assumed to occur in
such interface and/or within reverse micelles in the organic phase.
March 14, 2020 - Effective today and in accordance with
Government regulations, the members of The Eicosanoid Research
Division cease their activities at the Institute of Molecular
Biology and Genetics until further notice. Lipid work continues
March 20, 2020 - Current Quotation #12: "Nothing in life is to
be feared, it is only to be understood. Now is the time to
understand more, so that we may fear less" (Marie Curie,
Polish-French physicist and chemist; Nobel Laureate in Physics 1903,
Nobel Laureate in Chemistry 1911).
March 24, 2020 - Current Quotation #13: "This world's full of
people afraid to make the first move" (Anthony 'Tony Lip' Vallelonga, Green Book).
March 25, 2020 - 2-Oxoesters combining an aromatic scaffold or a
long aliphatic chain with a short aliphatic chain containing a free
carboxylic acid are known to inhibit group IVA cytosolic
in a very potent and selective manner. However they tend to degrade
rapidly in human plasma, which hinders their therapeutic potential. A
study by the Dennis and Kokotos labs published in the journal
Biomolecules describes that the
insertion of a methyl group on the α-carbon atom to the oxoester
results in molecules with enhanced metabolic stability that retain
considerable inhibitor potency, thus paving the way for their
March 31, 2020 - Group IVA cytosolic phospholipase A2α
the major enzyme controlling arachidonic acid mobilization for
production of proinflammatory eicosanoids during phagocytosis. cPLA2a is
known to translocate to the phagosome membrane in macrophages, which
may serve as an additional source of free arachidonic acid for
eicosanoid production. Importantly, targeting enzymatically-active
to the phagosome not only serves to provide the enzyme with
additional substrate sites but also to actively modulate
internalization of the engulfed particles, as this
image nicely shows.
April 2, 2020 - When taking a look at your
scientific family tree it is nice to identify so many
illustrious people, e.g. a few Nobel laureates, and the man who
wrote the most famous text of biochemistry of all time.
April 6, 2020 - Adrenic acid (AdA), the 2-carbon elongation
product of arachidonic acid (AA), is present at significant levels
in membrane phospholipids of mammalian cells. Similar to AA, AdA can
also be mobilized from phospholipids, and subsequently metabolized
to a number of oxygenated metabolites. Recent
work by Monge et al. appearing in the journal
Biomolecules examines AdA dynamics during macrophage
activation, and suggests that both cytosolic group IVA phospholipase
and calcium-independent group VIA phospholipase A2
participate in the process. Thus AdA mobilization shares regulatory
features with AA mobilization with regard to cPLA2a
involvement, but seems to be a more complex process, as it involves
participation of a second enzyme that is not involved in AA release
April 10, 2020 - Good Friday in the quietest Holy Week you could
ever imagine. A
perfect day to remember that if you want to go fast,
go alone. But if you want to go far, go together. This African
proverb is Current Quotation #14.
April 16, 2020 - This remark by Bengt Samuelsson, Nobel Laureate
in Physiology or Medicine 1982, was posted in this blog quite a few
years ago. It seems appropriate to bring it back from the dust
today: "My contributions demonstrate the power of research that is
not targeted to a specific disease but rather focuses on
understanding the structures and functions of the molecules
constituting the human body."
April 22, 2020 - Group IVA cytosolic phospholipase A2
is a fascinating enzyme because its activity can be regulated in so
many ways. The acute or rapid accumulation of free arachidonic acid
derived from cPLA2a
activity results from activation of preexisting enzyme through
different mechanisms. But cPLA2a
can also regulated at the transcriptional level. Long-term exposure of cells to cytokines such as
interleukin 1b, tumor necrosis factor
a or interferon
induces a 6- to 12-fold increase in cPLA2a
protein levels, which is quite remarkable.
April 23, 2020 - It is interesting that four of the last seven
entries below deal with cytosolic phospholipase A2
To keep up with the trend, here is a
link to a very recent paper in Biomolecules dealing with cPLA2a
translocation to lipid droplets.
April 24, 2020 - Little birds talking sweet to our ears about
things to come. Given previous experiences, we better not set all
the bells a-ringing yet.
May 6, 2020 - Current Quotation #15 pairs quite well with that
appearing four entries above. Different words, same thought. "The
research I have been doing does not lead to the kind of knowledge
that can be expected to give immediate practical benefits to
mankind. If I have chosen this field of study, it was because I
believed in its importance in spite of its theoretical character"
(Hans Adolf Krebs, German-British biochemist, Nobel Laureate in
Physiology or Medicine, 1953).
May 20, 2020 - Grant peer reviews are plagued with errors and
stupid and/or meaningless comments, we all know that. Why we never
raise outraged complaints about the quality of the process when the
outcome is positive and the grant is funded? The answer is simple:
why complain when the result is good? On the opposite side, when the
outcome is negative complaining will get you nowhere, no matter how
unfair or moronic the reviewers' comments are.
May 21, 2020 - Responding to some comments we have received, yesterday's entry was not
motivated by a grant rejection or anything of similar nature.
It is only that we are in the middle of grant writing and,
recollections come to our mind.
May 24, 2020 - Crotoxin is a phospholipase A2
abundantly present in the venom of the South American rattlesnake
Crotalus durissus terrificus. Crotoxin is responsible for much
of the pathological conditions associated with snakebite, including
neurotoxicity, myotoxicity, and immune alterations. In a recent
paper appearing in
Biomolecules, Sartim and colleagues
describe the effects of crotoxin on respiratory failure, and
introduce the use of nicotinic blockers and prostanoids biosynthesis
inhibitors as possible therapeutic agents to counteract rattlesnake
May 26, 2020 - It could have happened anywhere, but it happened
there. It could have happened to anyone, but it happened to him.
Food for thought.
June 10, 2020 - Why is it that every time big corps make a
mistake it is always in their favor? Never mind, here is Current
Quotation #16 to save us the day: "Skill is fine, and genius is
splendid, but the right contacts are more valuable than either"(Sir
Arthur Conan Doyle, Scottish writer).
June 11, 2020 - The first paper ever to suggest crosstalk
between secreted and cytosolic phospholipase A2s
came out back in
1996 from sunny San Diego. Some 25 years later we have just
contributed the latest chapter to this cherished story. The study by
Rodríguez et al., published
Biomolecules, presents a lipidomic characterization of the human
monocyte response to snake venom group IIA phospholipase A2,
and reveals significant connections between lipid droplet
biogenesis, the eicosanoid response, and biochemical pathways that
contribute to initiating the inflammatory response.
June 13, 2020 - The eicosanoid brigantine gallantry sailed
stormy waters and rough shallows into an unknown horizon. Once
again, a pot of gold was found at the end of the journey.
June 17, 2020 - Just for restless ears, the previous entry
translates as follows: our grant application to the Spanish Research
Agency received rave reviews and will be funded accordingly. Here is
a tiny bit from one of the evaluations of our recently
funded grant: "The applicants maintain a frequently updated website
showcasing their scientific publications as well as related news."
You gotta love this.
June 24, 2020 - Current Quotation #17: "Even though a monkey
dresses in silk, a monkey still is" (Spanish proverb).
June 29, 2020 - Our employers may treat us as if we were of the
kin of Saint Job, but that does not mean in any way that we have to
bless their holy names.
July 7, 2020 - The major problem with our science policy makers is not
that they are average at best; it is that they are so satisfied with
being average at best. Not many chances to win the Grand National if
you are given a donkey to ride on.
July 17, 2020 - Current Quotation #18: "Your mission, should you
decide to accept it..." (Mission: Impossible).
August 3, 2020 - Opsonization of foreign material makes it more
palatable to macrophages. It also increases macrophage arachidonic
acid release and eicosanoid production. Novel molecular features of
this process are defined in our latest
paper, soon to be found in
your favorite eicosanoid library!
August 9, 2020 - From
GraduateGuide: Deciding to go back to school to study for an
advanced degree is a big decision. Working toward a PhD can be a
difficult undertaking in many ways. It can place a strain on your
intellect, emotions and financial stability... (article continues
August 28, 2020 - This cartoon
by Spanish cartoonist
Antonio Mingote was drawn many years ago but, given the
astonishing events currently going on in the northeastern corner of
our beloved country, it seemed appropriate to bring it here.
September 2, 2020 - While not immediately recognized by many,
phospholipid phosphatases are also phospholipases. They hydrolyze
the terminal phosphate ester of certain phospholipids. Some have a
very strict substrate specificity, such as the lipins, which
hydrolyze phosphatidic acid only, while others are more promiscuous,
being able to utilize multiple substrates. The latter are known as
lipid phosphate phosphatases, of which there are three different
groups. In a
review just published in
Biomolecules, Phospholipases special issue, Tang and Brindley discuss what is currently known about the role of lipid
phosphate phosphatases in cancer.
September 8, 2020 - Current Quotation #19: "When men choose not
to believe in God, they become capable of believing in anything”
(G.K. Chesterton, English writer).
September 18, 2020 - Unraveling the involvement of the
calcium-independent group VIA phospholipase A2
in physiology and pathophysiology has been shown to be very complex.
Thanks to the generation of knock out mice for this enzyme, its
involvement in several functions such as bone formation, apoptosis,
insulin secretion, and sperm development could be established. In
the Phospholipases special issue of
Biomolecules, Chamulitrat and co-workers discuss their
recent data implicating group VIA phospholipase A2
in the development of hepatic steatosis and inflammation in obese
and non-obese murine models.
September 23, 2020 - Sphingomyelinases are a special type of
phospholipase C enzymes which specifically hydrolyze sphingomyelin
to generate ceramide, a potent inductor of apoptosis. However, cells
can evade apoptosis by converting ceramide to
sphingosine-1-phosphate. In the Phospholipases special issue of
Biomolecules, Hawkins et. al
discuss the role of sphingomyelinases and sphingosine
1-phosphate in glioblastoma and metastatic brain tumors.
September 28, 2020 - “There is only one moment in which you can
arrive in time. If you are not there, you are either too early or
too late" (Johan Cruyff, Dutch footballer). Group meetings resume
after the long hiatus imposed by you-know-what. Fall 2020 group
meeting schedule here.
October 1, 2020 - Phosphatidic acid, the substrate of lipins, is
a fundamental intermediate for the synthesis of triacylglycerol and
all glycerophospholipids, and also plays key roles in intracellular
and intercellular signaling. In the Phospholipases special issue of
Biomolecules, Lutkewitte and Finck
discuss how lipin-mediated control of phosphatidic acid
concentrations regulates metabolism and signaling in mammalian
October 3, 2020 - Another entry about cytosolic group IVA
for this year, this time to highlight the work by Ashcroft et al.
just published in the Phospholipases special issue of
authors show that the anti-psoriatic effects of inhibiting the
enzyme with a specific inhibitor resulted from a combination of
anti-inflammatory and anti-proliferative effects, probably involving
reduced local eicosanoid formation.
October 5, 2020 - Somebody will have to wait for at least
another year before trying it again. And this time there is no one
October 15, 2020 - Phospholipases and the bioactive lipids they
produce are important regulators of immune cell function. During
atherosclerosis, pro-inflammatory and pro-resolving actions
orchestrated by phospholipase-derived bioactive lipids govern
disease progression and/or regression. In a review appearing in the
Phospholipases special issue of
Biomolecules, Schilke et al.
focus on the contribution of phospholipases to atherosclerosis
within immune responses.
October 17, 2020 - In the latest installment of the
Biomolecules special issue on Phospholipases, John Turk and
describe the production of mice with selective deficiency of
calcium-independent group VIA phospholipase A2
in macrophages or insulin-secreting β-cells, and the contrasting
metabolic phenotype that these two kinds of cells exhibit.
October 19, 2020 - Updating phospholipase A2
biology is the suggestive title of the latest review by Makoto Murakami and
colleagues, published in the Phospholipases special issue of
Biomolecules. It makes particular focus on the
new roles for PLA2s
that have been unveiled in the last five-year period.
October 31, 2020 - Neutral and acid sphingomyelinases have been
well characterized for their contribution to signaling pathways and
role in diverse pathologies, including liver diseases. In the
Phospholipases special issue of
Biomolecules, Insausti-Urkia et al.
summarize the physiological functions of neutral and acid
sphingomyelinases and their role in chronic and metabolic liver
November 2, 2020 - Calcium-independent phospholipase A2
mediates the release of anti-inflammatory palmitoleic acid and its
positional isomers in macrophages, which are subsequently utilized
for the synthesis of other bioactive lipids. Read the whole story
November 5, 2020 - According to the times we are living in,
this year there was no trip to Catalonia but a virtual gathering
instead. Not the only ones with mixed emotions.
November 6, 2020 - It turned out that, regionally speaking,
things went back to normal and we received our cookies
well before anyone put their hands in the jar.
November 16, 2020 - Current Quotation #20: "Stupid is as stupid
does" (Forrest Gump, optimist extraordinaire). While they were at
it, we found time to update, at long last, our reports on
grant support history.
November 20, 2020 - Current Quotation #21: "When you can't do
what you do, you do what you can" (Jon Bon Jovi, American
November 24, 2020 - Group IIA secreted phospholipase A2
enzymes have been found to be elevated in plasma and adipose tissue
from obese patients. In the Phospholipases special issue of
Biomolecules, Leiguez et al.
show that this enzyme can directly activate adipocytes to
release prostaglandin E2,
which in turn mediate the production of various adipokines.
November 25, 2020 - Current Quotation #22: "We do not care about
what he did to his life; we care about what he did to our lives"
(anonymous comment found on the net, indubitably of Argentinian
origin). For a blog like this, which blends so frequently bioscience
with the only two things that matter, soccer and rock 'n roll, today
is a sad day.
December 3, 2020 - Current Quotation #23: "If you lie down with
dogs, you get up with fleas" (English proverb). Nothing can be done
about it, but still no way out.
December 14, 2020 - Little by little, we are making inroads into
fields never plowed. Whether the harvest will be abundant or paltry
in the fall it is yet too soon to predict.
December 17, 2020 - Current Quotation #23: "I do not speak of
revenge or forgiveness, forgetting is the only revenge and the only
forgiveness" (Jorge Luis Borges, Argentinian writer).
December 29, 2020 - Group V phospholipase A2
is known to participate in a number of functions of macrophages
exposed to interleukin-4, which polarizes the cells to an
anti-inflammatory phenotype. In the last article of the
Biomolecules special issue on Phospholipases, Koganesawa et al.
performed a mass spectrometry analysis of phospholipase A2
products and substrates, using macrophages deficient or not in the
group V enzyme, and polarized to either anti-inflammatory
(interleukin-4-treated) or pro-inflammatory (lipopolysaccharide plus
study identified selective changes between the different
activation regimes, suggesting the existence of novel lipid pathways
and functions critical for inflammation that may rely on the group V
January 15, 2021 - Neverending e-mail exchanges and on-line
meetings, lots of paperwork to achieve in the end the same result as
if we were allowed to decide by ourselves.
January 18, 2021 - "There are three stages of scientific
discovery: first people deny it is true; then they deny it is
important; finally they credit the wrong person" (Alexander von
Humboldt, German geographer). Winter 2021 group meeting schedule
February 6, 2021 - Our Paper of the
Year 2020 was published last July in Cell Metabolism. Making
good use of lipidomics,
Hsieh et al. showed that distinct proinflammatory stimuli
reshape the macrophage lipid composition in a signal-specific
manner. The study raises the provocative idea that manipulating the
ability of macrophages to adopt their preferred lipidomic state can
be exploited to enhance host defense against bacterial challenge.
February 8, 2021 - Stanford University people recently published
PLoS Biology their updated list of the world's top scientists
across all disciplines, based on Scopus citation data. While
bibliometric measures are usually of very limited value, it does not
hurt at all that the Stanford University list includes us among the
most influential biochemists worldwide (he, he).
February 15, 2021 - Sitting back and waiting for the rain to
come is fine as long as the rain finally comes. No rain, no
flowers, yes, but no effort, no reward too.
February 16, 2021 - With the new advances in lipidomics, a
growing number of unusual fatty acids are being detected. A recent
Cell Reports describes desaturase and elongase enzyme activities
that drive the increased diversification of fatty acid isomers in
prostate cancer cell lines and tissues. An abundant presence of
these unconventional fatty acids, including 16:1n-9, is found in
neutral lipids, consistent with our
February 17, 2021 - Current Quotation #25: "Let nothing disturb
you, let nothing frighten you, all things pass away... patience
obtains all things" (St. Teresa of Avila, Spanish mystic).
February 19, 2021 - Trying to identify possible arachidonic acid
sources for prostaglandin biosynthesis in zymosan-stimulated
macrophages, and the role of cellular compartmentalization as an
effective means to regulate both the levels and nature of
eicosanoids produced. Soon in your favorite eicosanoid
February 26, 2021 - Like two peas in a pod; cells and
biomolecules, biomolecules and cells.
Phospholipases, from structure
to function, and something in the way they move.
March 8, 2021 - Current Quotation #26: "Fool me once, shame on
you, fool me twice, shame on me" (ancient saying, likely of Greek or
March 10, 2021 - Current Quotation #27: "If you look for
different results, don't always do the same" (Attributed to Albert
Einstein, German physicist, Nobel Laureate in Physics 1921).
March 23, 2021 - An ancient proverb says that the enemy of your
enemy is your friend. However sometimes it is better to walk alone,
and the current situation is one of those. Uh, and the friends of my
friends are also my friends... what a mess!
March 24, 2021 - "Studying without a liking for it spoils the
memory, and it retains nothing it takes in” (Leonardo da Vinci,
Italian polymath). Spring 2021 group meeting schedule
March 27, 2021 - Understanding signaling networks regulated by
lipins provides clues to define the immunometabolic response of
activated macrophages. All this and a bit more at the
annual meeting of the Spanish Society
April 3, 2021 - Current Quotation #28 is an ancient Greek
proverb, and a pretty good one given the current times: "Whom the
gods would destroy they first make mad".
April, 12, 2021 - Not necessarily a waste of resources to try
chasing an artifact, but one has to know where and when to desist.
April 19, 2021 - Current Quotation #29: "Something is happening
and you don't know what it is. Do you, Mr. Jones?" (Bob Dylan, he
appeared so many times in this section). On a personal note, we wish
we did not know, but hey...
April 23, 2021 - You are a foreigner. This changes when they
need something from you. Afterward you
are a foreigner again. The funny thing is that they think you are
May 7, 2021 - Some people settle for the crumbs as a
strategy of resilience. While there are certainly better ways to
overcome adversity, for the time being we will take the money and
May 17, 2021 - Sometimes you spend hours on a problem without
finding a solution. Then, when almost all hope is lost, somehow as
if out of nowhere, you realize the solution was in front of your
May 28, 2021 - Today Miguel
Bermúdez brilliantly defended his PhD dissertation, titled
"Regulation of the Inflammatory Response of Macrophages by Lipids:
Roles of Arachidonic and Palmitoleic Acids." Kudos to him for an
June 7, 2021 - We must face it: some things will never change.
How do you keep going when everything but your pride tells you that
the effort is not worth the benefit?
June 10, 2021 - Fortunately, the irresponsibility of some will
not have a negative impact on our activities. We will have to wait a
few weeks though to make sure nothing goes awry.
June 13, 2021 - Stearoyl-CoA desaturase-1 and lipidomic
profiling, hypoxic microenvironment and kidney cancer cells, all
together in our latest paper. You may want to look it
June 14, 2021 - "A day without football is a wasted day" (Ernst
Happel, Austrian coach). Summer 2021 group meeting schedule
June 30, 2021 - The fair of vanities that is all that impact
factor thing spread its latest essences today. Regarding quartiles,
everything stays more or less the same as in the previous years: the
journals that not long ago were for us 'the journals' are all in Q2,
some even in Q3. Interestingly, many of the new journals have fared
better, with some of them positioning well in Q1. We keep wondering
why people regard these data as as a measure of quality instead of
popularity, which is what it really is. Lost battle, we know.
July 6, 2021 - Current Quotation #30: "You cannot get to know
and love Italy if you have not tried Spain first" (Italian proverb).
July 11, 2021 - So many new journals, so many new publishers.
They target your ego, and they do it so well that many times it is
difficult to separate honest science from marketing and pure
July 14, 2021 - Current Quotation #31: "Whoever hides something
is because they have something to hide" (Fernando Esteso, truistic
July 27, 2021 - One would expect that, at least in a biomed lab,
two plus two always equal four. To our dismay, we have come to
realize that some people seem to be intent on disproving even this
August 7, 2021 - Current Quotation #32: "When I was a boy of
fourteen, my father was so ignorant I could hardly stand to have the
old man around. But when I got to be twenty-one, I was astonished at
how much the old man had learned in seven years" (Mark Twain,
August 27, 2021 - One can't endorse a request without even
knowing it. Things come and things go. Quoted for truth.
August 30, 2021 - A
study by Chilton and associates appearing in the latest JCI
issue reports elevated plasma levels of group IIA secreted
and related metabolites in severe COVID-19 patients. This work
provides strong evidence that this enzyme may constitute a
therapeutic target to reduce COVID-19 mortality. Why will it be that
we are not surprised in the very least?
September 12, 2021 - "The best way to make your dreams come true
is to wake up" (Paul Valéry, French poet). Fall 2021 group meeting schedule
September 24, 2021 - The problem with fishing in another guy's
pond is that you may end up with an unpalatable fish in your table.
It was tried before and it did not work. Let's see what happens this
October 5, 2021 - Times of bonanza seem to hover over our
beloved institution. Problem is that those in charge of distributing
the riches have not come to realize that there is also
excellence beyond them and their close friends.
October 8, 2021 - Three considerations for today. First, mass
activities must be planned with great anticipation so as to avoid as
much as possible coincidence with other events. Second, delegation
of responsibilities is not an acceptable option for certain kind of
activities. Third, activities that amount to no more than a
posturing exercise must be ignored.
October 13, 2021 - Ludwig Thudichum and Jordi Folch Pi, half
forgotten heroes of lipid neuroscience times that are,
unfortunately, well behind our times.
October 15, 2021 - TRPC3 calcium channel activation by
intracellular diacylglycerol during lipopolysaccharide-triggered
macrophage responses, coming soon to your favorite eicosanoid
October 28, 2021 - Current Quotation #33: "It is better to keep
your mouth closed and let people think you are a fool than to open
it and remove all doubt" (Mark Twain, American writer).
October 29, 2021 - Perhaps not the most appropriate position,
but we will follow a diplomatic approach. The goal will be achieved
anyway. Blood boils, that is inevitable.
November 6, 2021 - Back from the 12th CIBERDEM meeting, held in
Mataró, Barcelona. While not walking
through the great avenues as before, we've got to admit it's getting
better (better), a little better all the time.
November 9, 2021 - Perhaps because it was published in a
'lesser' journal (that said with all kinds of reservations), we had
missed another important
paper linking group IIA secreted phospholipase A2
levels in serum with the severity of symptoms of COVID-19. Just like
the work cited below in the Aug 30 entry, the authors conclude that
the value of sPLA2-IIA
as a potential therapeutic target warrants serious consideration.
November 16, 2021 - Work by
Huang et al. recently published in the Journal of the American
Heart Association reports an inverse association between
nonesterified cis-7-hexadecenoic acid (16:1n-9) levels in serum and
incident stroke. The authors suggest that cis-7-hexadecenoic acid
should be investigated as a potential biomarker for incident stroke
risk. This is, incidentally (pun intended), fully consistent with
our previous work on this fatty acid.
November 17, 2021 - With respect to the flurry of comments
spawned by a paper in Nature reporting how bad palmitic acid is for
cancer progression, we echo the comments made by Bill Christie in
Lipid Matters blog, hosted by Lipid Maps: "Arguably, it is not
palmitic acid per se that is the problem but a large excess."
Somehow this reminds us of that story of the guy who used to eat
three times a day every single day at a McDonalds restaurant and, unsuspectedly, ended up becoming obese.
November 22, 2021 - Current Quotation #34: "Be selective with
your battles; sometimes peace is better than being right"
November 26, 2021 - A famous quotation by the Roman poet Terence
reads: "I am human, hence nothing human can be alien to me"... which
does not mean at all that simply because someone is going through
very hard times we have to forgive or forget all the very bad things
they did in their life.
December 1, 2021 - Also from Bill Christie's
Lipid blog: "they (IUPAC-IUB) rebuked me for using the generic
term 'cholesteryl esters', which I was told should correctly be
termed 'cholesterol esters'. 'Cholesteryl' should be applied only
when describing individual lipid species, e.g. cholesteryl
palmitate, cholesteryl oleate, etc." It is an old entry (Oct 11,
2017), but we were recently questioned about this.
December 3, 2021 - My dear Buenos Aires, when I get to see you
again there will be no more sorrow or oblivion... but hopefully a
lot of interest on phospholipase A2.
December 10, 2021 - Anything you wanted to know about lipid
droplets, arachidonic acid, phospholipase A2,
and atherosclerosis, coming soon to your favorite eicosanoid
December 23, 2021 - This confusing year comes to and end in a
(how come!) confusing manner. "Legal imperative" should be the key
for the next year. Take a look at the Christmas
greeting card from one of our supporting institutions, the
lesser one yet the easier to deal with. So closes the blog for this
January 13, 2022 - "It is not so much that I have confidence in
scientists being right, but that I have so much in nonscientists
being wrong" (Isaac Asimov, American writer and biochemist). Winter 2022 group meeting schedule
January 14, 2022 - We got
mentioned again in the Lipid Matters blog. This time in a kind
of different way, but hey, as we often say, free exposure is always
January 18, 2022 - Current Quotation #35: "I have learned not to
try to convince anyone. The work of convincing is an attempt to
colonize the other" (José Saramago, Portuguese writer, Nobel
Laureate in Literature 1998).
January 31, 2022 - In the April issue of Nature Chemical
Kagan and co-workers published a study demonstrating the key
role of group VIA calcium-independent phospholipase A2
in averting ferroptosis by eliminating oxidized phospholipids that
act as ferroptotic signals. It seems like all the pieces of the
puzzle are finally coming together, and the actual biological roles
are finally coming to the spotlight. This is the paper we
distinguished as Paper of the Year 2021.
February 7, 2022 - María Zambrano was a writer and philosopher,
widely regarded as one the most brilliant minds of the 20th century
in Spain. She was awarded two of the most important literary prizes
in the Spanish-speaking world, the Cervantes Prize in 1981 and the
Prince of Asturias Prize in 1988, the first woman to receive both
recognitions. We welcome (back) David Balgoma as a
María Zambrano Fellow in the Biomedical Sciences.
February 15, 2022 - We bring Mead acid (5,8,11-eicosatrienoic
acid) again to this section. It is a non-essential polyunsaturated
fatty acid of the n-9 series that, unusually, carries the name of
its discoverer, James F. Mead. Cultured cell lines are often found
to contain significant amounts of Mead acid. This is thought to
occur to compensate somehow for the low levels of polyunsaturated
fatty acids of the n-6 and n-3 series that cell lines exhibit. For
quick reference, here is our very
nice fatty acid list.
February 28, 2022 - Current Quotation #36: "Nothing can be
stolen from an empty place" (Spanish proverb). In Dylanian terms,
when you got nothing, you got nothing to lose.
March 9, 2022 - The discovery of oxygenated products of
omega-3 fatty acids and their role as resolutory/ant-inflammatory
mediators was always received with much skepticism by the scientific
review just appearing in Frontiers in Pharmacology calls into
question much of the evidence gathered along the years regarding
specialized pro-resolving mediators. As this area of research is
tangential to our work we have no opinion on the subject, but the
review is indubitably a must read.
March 17, 2022 - People often do not pay much attention to the
abbreviations list in a manuscript. Not a good idea if the author
has dedicated a lot of time in preparing it.
March 24, 2022 - Another
study implicating secreted phospholipase A2
in the pathology of COVID-19. This time is not the group IIA enzyme,
but the group IID. The work is in mice, perhaps that makes the
March 28, 2022 - 15-Hydroxyeicosatetraenoic acid (15-HETE) is
most often regarded as a lipoxygenase metabolite.
However, 15-HETE can also be produced at very significant quantities by cyclooxygenases.
Thus, before taking 15-HETE production as an indicator of
lipoxygenase activity in cells, it would be good to assess its levels in the
presence of a cyclooxygenase inhibitor.
March 29, 2022 - "Four things cannot be hidden for a long time:
scientific facts, stupidity, wealth, and poverty" (Ibn Rushd,
Averroes, Muslim Spanish philosopher). Spring 2022 group meeting schedule
April 1, 2022 - New insights into the interaction of cytosolic
with membrane phosphoinositides. coming soon to your favorite
April 6, 2022 - An interesting study published in
Cells suggests that mice may retain cellular memories of
exposure to arachidonic acid across generations. In particular,
continued exposure of the animals to arachidonic acid increases
their content in 16:1n-9, which is quite reminiscent of our own data
showing the up-regulation of this fatty acid in arachidonate-treated
April 11, 2022 - Quotation #37 is actually two similar ones,
both from or attributed to Thomas Alva Edison, American inventor and
businessman. "Our greatest weakness lies in giving up; the most
certain way to succeed is always to try just one more time", and
"People are not remembered by the number of times they fail, but by
the number of times they succeed; and the number of times they
succeed is in direct proportion to the number of times they fail and
keep on trying. Every wrong step is another step forward.”
April 29, 2022 - We just learned that the review paper we published in BBA in June 2019 (this
one) is the journal's most cited
article of the last three years. This is, obviously, a good
thing to note.
May 5, 2022 - The latest installment of the specialized
pro-resolving mediator controversy (see March 9 entry) has reached
unexpected heights and is commented on in
Science. Best part, the last sentence: "no one expects an easy
resolution to this highly inflamed dispute."
May 26, 2022 - Time for grant writing inevitably brings about
the issue of popularity versus excellence in scientific publishing.
Things have become so perverted that most policy makers can't
distinguish between both concepts. So here we go again to clarify:
vanity journals are primarily concerned with fashion - they have to
sell. With this we are not saying at all that vanity journals publish
bad or irrelevant science (though they frequently do), we just say
that there is a lot of excellent science being published in 'lesser'
journals which does not receive the respect or attention it
May 30, 2022 - More on Mead acid. A recent study in
Cell Chemical Biology suggests that elongation/desaturation of
oleic acid to form Mead acid regulates ferroptosis-like signals that
restrict replication of hepatitis C virus in hepatocytes.
June 10, 2022 - In a recent article in
Nature, adipose triacylglycerol lipase (ATGL) is identified as a
major candidate enzyme for the biosynthesis of branched fatty acid
esters of hydroxyfatty acids (FAHFA). According to the authors, ATGL
hydrolyzes triacylglycerol and transfers the resulting fatty acid to
a nearby hydroxyfatty acid. This results in FAHFA formation via a
direct transacylation reaction. Unexpected, to say the least.
June 14, 2022 - "That of the Spanish was always a long and
painful road to nowhere, marked by vileness and infamy.
Paradoxically, all of the greatness and brilliance of our history is
compatible with our miserable human condition; one is a complement
or consequence of the other, and vice versa" (Arturo Pérez-Reverte,
Spanish writer and journalist). Summer 2022 group meeting schedule
June 22, 2022 - Current Quotation #38: "May you find as much
peace as the relief you leave behind" (Spanish proverb). Sadly, the
future does not seem to look brighter.
July 7, 2022 - Roles of hexadecenoic fatty acids in metabolic
diseases and cancer, coming soon to your favorite eicosanoid
July 8, 2022 - Current quotation #39: "Change always comes later
than we think it should" (Adm. Jean-Luc Picard, wise man
July 15, 2022 - Yesterday, Laura
Pereira successfully defended her PhD thesis titled "A lipidomic
study of the activation and maturation of dendritic cells. Roles of
arachidonic acid and the hexadecenoic fatty acid isomers." Congrats
to her for a superb performance.
July 16, 2022 - Words that sound or are written similarly but
mean different things occur in all languages. In Spanish, for
example, we have filiación (affiliation) and afiliación
Funny things may happen when someone uses one instead of the other.
July 18, 2022 - While surfing the web we stumbled across a
rather old but certainly accurate description of a disease whose
symptoms are easily recognizable:
July 21, 2022 - The problem when something happens that you
thought it would never happen is not that something itself; it is
that you can no longer be confident it will not happen again.
August 17, 2022 - The tempestuous and intricate beginnings in
scientific research, as seen by Mr.
August 27, 2022 - We may agree with the Duke of Wellington that
two plus two does not always equal four in Spain. However we must also
agree with Descartes that in Spain, two plus three always makes five.
August 31, 2022 - Scientific publishing is now big business and,
as such, a prime objective is to stand out from the crowd and get
noticed. This is why the folks at Biomolecules prepared these
banners for promotion in social
September 14, 2022 - "If you think you are too small to make a
difference, you have not spent a night with a mosquito" (African
proverb). Fall 2022 group meeting schedule
September 20, 2022 - Plasmalogens are abundant in mammals and
invertebrates, but are absent in plants and fungi. Among bacteria,
they are present in anaerobic bacteria but not in aerobic bacteria,
with the notable exception of Myxobacteria. It is from these
bacteria that the key enzyme in the synthesis of plasmalogens,
plasmanylethanolamine desaturase (PEDS1) was first identified.
September 27, 2022 - Since we all know that the name of a certain center
located on the banks of the Pisuerga river and the words commitment
and motivation do not fit in the same sentence, we must conclude
that either she did not understand anything or she is a master of
hypocrisy. We bet on the latter.
September 28, 2022 - Have you ever tried to headbutt a wall? Of
course not. No matter how much effort you put into it the only thing
you would accomplish is hurting yourself. The secret is to know when
it is the time to let something go. Dedicating your resources to things that cannot produce results
is a waste of time and above all, energy.
September 30, 2022 - Current quotation #40: "Vitam regit fortuna,
non sapientia" (Fortune, not wisdom, rules lives) (Marcus Tullius
Cicero, Roman statesman).
October 7, 2022 - With answers that have nothing to do with the
question becoming commonplace, nothing should surprise us anymore.
October 10, 2022 - Current quotation #41: "Never argue with a
fool. You'll never convince the fool that you're correct, and
bystanders won't be able to tell who's who" (Mark Twain, American
October 19, 2022 - Administering γ-linolenic acid (18:3n-6) to
certain cells and tissues of rodent and human origin results in the
accumulation of dihomo-γ-linolenic acid (20:3n-6), not arachidonic
acid (20:4n-6) as one might have surmised. This finding, which is
particularly striking in phagocytic cells, is due to the limited
Δ5 desaturase in
these cells and tissues.
October 21, 2022 - Current quotation #42: "Give alms to him,
woman, for nothing in life is more pitiful than to be blind in
Granada" (Francisco de Icaza, Mexican poet).
October 26, 2022 - I stored good and moldy apples together in a
basket. The rotten ones did not improve, but the good ones rotted.
Real as the IBGM itself.
October 27, 2022 - Zapatero, a tus zapatos (literally
"shoemaker, to your shoes"), is a Spanish saying that applies to
those who want to get into fields that are not their own. Naturally,
nothing of substance follows from that.
November 8, 2022 - It is relieving that there is still people
who know that what cannot be is not and, in addition, it is
impossible. Needless to say, the chieftain and the empress are not
in the club of the enlightened.
November 11, 2022 - Back from the 13th CIBERDEM meeting, held
again in Mataró, Barcelona. Things
still going up for us.
November 14, 2022 - Whoever said "better the devil you know" had
no idea of the things that took place in a small city that
was once the capital of an empire on which the sun never set.
November 22, 2022 - Current quotation #43: "He who knows he is a
fool is not the biggest fool; the biggest fool will end his life
without ever seeing the light" (Zhuang Zhou, Chinese philosopher).
November 24, 2022 - Just told that Stanford University
recently updated their list of the top 2% most widely cited
scientists. Still on board, and it seems that this time we got rid of the
November 25, 2022 - Current quotation #44: "It was in Spain that
we learned that one can be right and yet be beaten, that force can
vanquish spirit, that there are times when courage is not its own
recompense" (Albert Camus, French writer).
November 28, 2022 - To seek out new
data and new experimentations, to
boldly publish where no one has published before...
November 29, 2022 - Another good one: When you play the
game of thrones, you win or you
die... Older stuff, but well worth a laugh.
December 5, 2022 - Back from the Symposium on Lipid Signaling
and Oxidative Stress, held in Barcelona.
Old friends, good atmosphere, great science, what else could we ask
for? Yes, a bonus: several days without being bothered by you know
December 7, 2022 - Patricia Monge
defended today her PhD dissertation, titled "Lipidomic analysis of
macrophage activation by immunoinflammatory stimuli." Congrats to
her for an excellent performance.
December 9, 2022 - Plasmalogens, oxidized phospholipids, fatty
acid remodeling, ferroptosis, and much more, now available in your
favorite eicosanoid library!
December 17, 2022 - Dio wrote a song in the 80's called "Kill
the King". There is also another song in Spanish, bearing the same
title, sung by José Andrëa. And there is also a saying that goes as
"Kill the King and go to Murcia".
Historical reasons apart, what comes after the "and" looks like a
wise idea for many reasons. Being a plasmalogen fan is one of them.