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Scientific Report: “Linking transcription to physiology in lipidomics”

The 54rd International Conference on the Biosciences of Lipids (ICBL), entitled “Linking transcription to physiology in lipidomics”, was held from Sept. 17-21, 2013, in Bari, Italy. The ICBL conference is organized annually at different locations around the world as a forum for presentation and discussion of recent discoveries in lipid research. This year’s meeting was held in Bari, a beautiful city in Southeast Italy considered the door to East due to its strategic geographical location in the Mediterranean Sea and a perfect place to enjoy a good blend of science and the famous Italian warmth. The organizing committee members were from Italy (Antonio Moschetta, Maurizio Crestani, Sandro Sonnino, Giuseppe Palasciano, Donatella Caruso, Emma De Fabiani, Chiara Degirolamo, Nico Mitro, Rachele Mizzi and Elda Desiderio Pinto) and Hungary (Laszlo Vigh). Nearly 200 scientists and accompanying persons from 29 different countries in Europe, North America, South America, Asia, Africa and Australia attended with many participants from Italy, Japan, USA, Poland, United Kingdom, France, Canada, Argentina and Brazil.

The meeting was held at the Sheraton Nicolaus Hotel, a modern business hotel located half way between the Airport and Bari city center and endowed with excellent facilities that make it stand high in the guests’ favors throughout the Apulian Region. The Sheraton Hotel has airy, lavishly furnished bedrooms, junior suites and suites for a pleasant and relaxing stay, with attention to every detail. Within the hotel there are restaurants, bars, fitness center, indoor swimming pool, sauna, solarium.

The conference opened with introductory remarks by Peter J. Slotte (Department of Biosciences, Åbo Akademi University), Maurizio Crestani (Università degli Studi di Milano) and Antonio Moschetta (Università degli Studi di Bari “Aldo Moro”) the organizers of the 54th ICBL. The scientific program consisted of 7 sessions each of which included plenary talks by invited speakers selected on the basis of both their outstanding research and their ability to present a clear and stimulating talk; a total of 22 internationally recognized scientists were invited to give these plenary talks. In addition, 30 shorter talks on late-breaking research were presented. An important feature of the conference was the emphasis placed on presentation and discussion of research of young investigators and trainees (graduate students/postdoctoral fellows). An international committee selected short talks on the basis of abstracts submitted by trainees. In addition, all scientists had ample opportunity for highlighting their research in two poster sessions; each poster was available for discussion for more than 2 h.

The first day started with a great “Laurens van Deenen” Lecture, entitled “Transcriptional control of brown and beige fat: toward a new generation of therapeutics”, given by Bruce M. Spiegelman (Boston, USA) who discussed the role of brown and beige adipocytes in human and mice, indicating in the murine beige fat those more similar to adult human brown fat.

Session #1 “Nuclear Receptors and the transcriptional regulation of lipid metabolism” (chairman Antonio Moschetta)

This session started with a fascinating presentation delivered by David Mangelsdorf (Dallas, USA) who talked about the role of the nuclear receptors and FGF21 in the regulation of nutrient metabolism. Next, an interesting talk made by Malcolm Parker (London, UK) who described the role of RIP140 corepressor in lipid droplet formation in adipocytes. Before the coffee break, two short talks illustrated, in one case, the dual hepato-specific function of PPARα during fatty acid catabolism and anabolism (Alexandra Montagner, Toulouse, France) and, the other, the effects of the different FXR isoforms on hepatic glucose and lipid metabolism (Jorge C. Correia, Algarve, Portugal). Peter Tontonoz’ (Los Angeles, USA) lecture provided new insights into the role of Lpcat3 in the regulation of ER stress in liver and the novel and fundamental role of ABCA1, but not ABCG1, in the LXR antiinflammatory activity. The involvement of LXRβ in controlling water balance with targets in both the brain and kidney was the topic of the presentation by Chiara Gabbi (Houston, Texas). Then, Jeroen FJ Bogie (Diepenbeek, Belgium) discussed the role of myelin-derived phosphatidylserine in the regulation of PPAR activation in macrophages after myelin uptake. The final short talk of this session was presented by MJ Nunes (Lisbon, Portugal) and described the regulatory pathways that modulate the expression of CYP46A1 gene, suggesting a role of retinoic signaling pathway in the maintenance of brain cholesterol homeostasis.

Session #2 “The Gut-Liver Axis route for lipids: relevance in nutrition and lifestyle” (chairs Iannis Talianidis and Béatrice Desvergne)

This session started with the lecture delivered by Paolo Parini (Stockholm, Sweden), he discussed the role of new factors in the transcriptional regulation of lipid metabolism in humans. Michael Trauner (Vienna, Austria) discussed the role of metabolic lipases in non-alcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD). Next, two short talks by Paul P. Van Veldhoven (Leuven, Belgium) and Ursula Loizides-Mangold (Geneva, Switzerland) focused on the role of peroxisomes in the intestine and the importance of the peroxisomal enzyme L-PBE to prevent the dietary toxicity of medium chain fatty acids, respectively. After the coffee break Ronald P. Oude Elferink (Amsterdam, Holland) talked about lipid transport and lipid signaling in cholestasis. Next, a short talks by Chiara Riganti (Torino, Italy) illustrated the role of omega 3 fatty acids as potential chemosensitizer strategy in colon cancer. Then, Leslie Couëdelo (Bordeaux, France) talked about the influence of the nature of vegetable oils blended with flaxseed oil on alpha linolenic acid bioavailability and plasma lipoprotein profile in rats. The session ended with a short talk by Marco Busnelli (Milano, Italy) on the impact of different dietary treatments on the molecular lipid profile of aortic plaques developed in apoE-/- mice.

Session #3 “Dissecting lipid metabolism in diabetes and atherosclerosis” (chairs David Mangelsdorf and Peter Tontonoz)

This session started with two main lectures delivered by Sergio Rodriguez-Cuenca (Palma de Mallorca, Spain) and Béatrice Desvergne (Lausanne, Switzerland). The first described the role of dihydroceramide desaturase (DEGS1) in adipocytes differentiation and function and, the second illustrated the positive and negative roles of fat in development and homeostasis. The first short talk of this session was made by Sabrina Krautbauer (Regensburg, Germany) and talked about free fatty acids and inflammation and their role in increased manganese superoxide dismutase (MnSOD) level in obesity which protects adipocytes from excessive ROS associated with increased triglyceride storage. Next, Sara Tucci (Freiburg, Germany) described the long-term effects of medium-chain triglyceride (MCT) treatment in mice with a β-oxidation defect. After the coffee break Laura Calabresi (Milano, Italy) presented a lecture entitled “HDL and atherosclerosis: insights from inherited HDL disorders”. Then, Bernardo L. Trigatti (Ontario, Canada) described the potential role of HDL to protect macrophages against ER-stress-induced apoptosis in an SR-BI dependent manner. The last two speakers before the break were Eleonora Poggiogalle (Roma, Italy) and Michele Vacca (Bari, Italy). They talked about functional and morphological vascular changes in subjects with familial combined hypolipidemia and epicardial adipose tissue transcriptomics in coronary atherosclerosis, respectively.

Session #4 “Lipid metabolism, transcription, stemness” (chairs Paolo Parini and Emma De Fabiani)

The afternoon session began with a plenary lecture by Elena Cattaneo (Milano, Italy) who talked about the Huntington disease and the role of lipids in the development of this pathology. Next, Nicholas R.F. Hannan (Cambridge, UK) presented an interesting talk entitled “Modeling disorder of lipid metabolism using human induced pluripotent stem cells”. After this, Tracy Vrablik (Washington, USA) discussed the roles of lipid droplets in C. elegans development and germ cell maintenance. Makoto Ito (Fukuoka, Japan) described the synthesis of DHA and DHAcontaining glycerolipids and their accumulation in lipid droplets of thraustochytrids. After the coffee break Cécile Rochette-Egly (Strasbourg, France) presented a lecture on retinoic acid signaling and mouse embryonic stem cell differentiation. Next, Apostolos Pappas (New Jersey, USA) demonstrated that IL-11, IL-1α, IL-6, and TNFα are induced by solar radiation and described their involvement in the facial subcutaneous fat loss. Then, Gaia Cermenati (Milano, Italy) showed the protective effects of neuroactive steroids on diabetic peripheral neuropathy. This session ended with a short talk by L. Siculella (Lecce, Italy) on the transcriptional regulation of citrate carrier by SREBP-1 and PPARα in rat cell lines.

Session #5 “Signal transduction, Gene expression and circadian rhythm in the regulation of lipid metabolism” (chairs Maurizio Crestani and Donatella Caruso)

The first two lectures in this session were on the mitochondrial regulation of cellular processes during aging and the transcriptional network function in the regulation of lipid metabolism: during his lecture Johan Auwerx (Lausanne, Switzerland) provided new insights into the role of mitochondrial proteins in aging regulation while Iannis Talianidis (Greece) discussed his latest data on the interplay between HNF1 and 4 transcriptional network and liver lipid metabolism. Next, a short talk by Catherine Mounier (Montreal, Canada) suggested a role for stearoyl CoA-desaturase 1 in the epithelial to mesenchymal transition, one of the main features of metastasis recurrence in breast cancer while Anna Dziewulska (Warsaw, Poland) talked about the stearoyl CoA-desaturase 1-mediated regulation of DNA methylation in adipocytes and skeletal muscle. After the break, Professor John Chiang (Rootstown, USA) gave a special lecture in memory of Professor Giovanni Galli sponsored by the University of Milano and focused on bile acid signaling in lipid metabolism. Four short talks given by Henrikka Kentala (Helsinki, Finland) on sterol-dependent function of ORP2-VAPA complexes at MCS and its implication in cell lipid homeostasis, by Miguel Moutinho (Lisbon, Portugal) on the metabolic impact of Cyp46a1 overexpression (the main enzyme in brain cholesterol disposal pathway) in neuronal cells, by Tim Vanmierlo on the involvement of renin angiotensin system in the central nervous system response to dietary fat and by Lagarde Michel (Lyon, France) on the role of oxidized LDL in platelet function completed the Friday morning session.

Session #6 “Dynamics of membrane microdomains and pathophysiological implications” (chairman Sandro Sonnino)

The session opened with a talk delivered by Jin-ichi Inokuchi (Sendai, Japan) on the role of membrane gangliosides (the major components of lipid rafts) in T-cell activation. Next, Kazuhisa Iwabuchi (Tokyo, Japan) presented his work on organization and function of glycolipid-enriched microdomains in phagocytes. George M. Carman (New Brunswick, USA) gave an interesting and thought-provoking talk on the cellular functions of phosphatidate phosphatase enzymes in yeast. Three more short talks by Hugo Maccioni (Cordoba, Argentina) on the role of transmembrane domains in the sorting of proteins between Golgi complex and plasma membrane, by Tsubasa Miyoshi (Kobe, Japan) on the mechanisms of cholesterol-induced Lo phase formation in PL/cholesterol systems, and by Angela Rizzo (Milano, Italy) who suggested atomic force microscopy as a tool to perform a morpho-dimensional characterization of lipid rafts, completed the session.

Session #7 “Lipids and membranes in stress management: stress perception, signaling, repair and adaptation” (chairs Laszlo Vigh and Annette Draeger)

This final session started with an interesting talk delivered by Teun Munnik (Amsterdam, NL) who talked about stress-activated phosphatidylcholine and diacylglycerol signaling pathways in plants, after which Annette Draeger (Berne, Switzerland) presented her recent research on repair mechanisms of plasma membrane damage and their implications in cell survival. Finally, Laszlo Vigh (Szeged, Hungary) provided new insights on fatty feedback in stress management. The conference ended with two short talks given by Stefano Piotto (Salerno, Italy) and by Evelyn Orsò (Regensburg, Germany) on the impact of sphingomyelin/cholesterol ratio in the interaction of hydroxylamine derivatives with lipid membrane and on HDL-mediated efflux stress in human macrophages, respectively.

Maurizio Crestani made some closing remarks and Cherry Wainwright invited the audience to attend the 55th ICBL that will be dedicated to the memory of Professor Alan Garton and will take place in Aberdeen, Scotland on June 23-27, 2014.

Maurizio Crestani and Antonio Moschetta on behalf of the Organizing Committee of the 54th ICBL

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