Dr. Diano's Lab

Research Interests

Project 1: Role of peroxisome proliferation in leptin resistance

Recent data, including those from our laboratories raised the notion that ROS generation is not merely a by-product of substrate oxidation, but it plays a crucial role in modulating cellular responses involved in the regulation of energy metabolism. Specifically, this project focuses on the role of peroxisomes in the regulation of intracellular ROS levels, and their involvement in leptin resistance. The aim of these studies may ultimately uncover treatments of obesity.

Project 2: Role of prolyl carboxypeptidase in metabolism regulation

The major anorexigenic peptide in the hypothalamus is alpha-melanocyte-stimulating hormone (-MSH), the product of the pro-opiomelanocortin (POMC) gene. When released, alpha-MSH is rapidly degraded, a process that is likely to play an important role in melanocortin signaling. We have identified a carboxylase enzyme, prolyl carboxypeptidase (PRCP), which is expressed in the hypothalamus and initiates degradation and inactivation of extracellular alpha-MSH. This project aims to decipher the role of PRCP in metabolism regulation and to uncover its potential for treatment of obesity.

Project 3: Role of Prolyl endopeptidase in glucose homeostasis

Central Prolyl endopeptidase (PREP) expression is particularly elevated in the ventromedial nucleus of the in the hypothalamus, area involved in the regulation of glucose homeostasis. Using an animal model of PREP Knockdown (Prepgt/gt) we have generated, this project aims to decipher the molecular underpinning of Prep’s involvement in the promotion of peripheral glucose metabolism and uncover its potential for treatment of type II diabetes.

Project 4: Role of mitochondrial uncoupling protein 2 in energy and glucose metabolism

Uncoupling protein 2 (UCP2) is an inner membrane mitochondria protein highly expressed in hypothalamic neurons involved in the regulation of energy and glucose homeostasis. Diet-induced obese and diabetic mice as well as genetically obese leptin-deficient mice (ob/ob) have elevated levels of hypothalamic UCP2. Thus, this project aims to decipher the role of UCP2 in energy and glucose homeostasis.

Lab Members


       

Diano, Sabrina

Principal Investigator

Professor of Obstetrics, Gynecology, and Reproductive Sciences, of Comparative Medicine and of Neurobiology
Director, Reproductive Neurosciences Group

Research Interests: Metabolism Regulation

               

Devlin, Kyrstyn

Undergrad Research Associate

Hernández, Francisco

Ph.D. Student

Kim, Jung Dae

Associate Research Scientist in Obstetrics, Gynecology, and Reproductive Sciences

Liu, Zhong-Wu

Associate Research Scientist in Comparative Medicine

Research Interests: to study different neuronal types for the electrophysiological recordings on neuroscience

Nigro, Mariana

Postdoctoral Associate

Toda, Chitoku

Postdoctoral Fellow in Comparative Medicine