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Current Research of David Russell lab
The Russell laboratory
studies enzymes that synthesize different kinds of lipids. Our current areas of interest are enzymes that make bile acids, vitamin D, and waxes, and the development of chemical methods to identify new enzymes.
Illustration of Biosynthesis of Bile Acids From Cholesterol
Figure 1
Enzymes of Bile Acid Metabolism
We have for many years been interested in the enzymes that convert cholesterol, an otherwise hydrophobic and insoluble molecule, into bile acids, which are water-soluble derivatives that are readily excreted from the body (Figure 1). Bile acids are made in the liver by metabolic pathways that include at least 16 enzymes located in the cytoplasmic and membrane compartments of the cell (Illustration 2). We use biochemical and molecular methods to isolate these enzymes and their encoding genes and then apply physiological methods and targeted gene disruption in mice to determine their roles in metabolism. For example, the liver-specific enzyme 3b-hydroxy-Δ5-C 27-steroid oxidoreductase (3b-HSD) is located in the endoplasmic reticulum and catalyzes an early step in the synthesis of bile acids.
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