Antonio E. Rusiñol, Ph.D.
My research is focused on two major areas:
A) Elucidation the molecular pathways and mechanisms of the early events of atherogenesis: The cytotoxic effects of oxLDL have been shown to proceed through apoptotic pathways. Work reported by our group (see bellow ), and others, is consistent with the hypothesis that the induction of apoptosis by oxLDL is mediated by oxysterols. A long term goal of our laboratory is to determine whether macrophage foam cell apoptosis, induced by oxysterols, plays a significant role in atherogenesis.
B) Role of protein prenylation on traffic, function and disease: Protein prenylation can be considered as a mechanism for post-translational attachment of proteins to membranes and targeting signal for intracellular localization . All known prenylated proteins in the cell are found at least under certain conditions, bound to cellular membranes. However, although prenylation clearly mediates membrane association, other factors must determine the specificity of the subcellular localization of particular prenylated proteins since they occur in many diverse subcellular compartments. In some cases this specificity is given by secondary signals in the prenylated proteins (primary structure or additional lipid modifications) whereas in other cases it is the actual interaction with prenylation-specific receptors or protein partners that directs the final localization. The existence of such prenylation-specific binding proteins has been demonstrated by work from our laboratory (1) and work published by others. The function of such proteins is however, not clearly understood. The overall goal of our research is to determine the role of prenylation-specific binding proteins on H-ras and Prelamin A trafficking and function.