Matti Kjellberg

Åbo Akademi University
Supervisor: Peter Mattjus
Funding: other
Date: 2010-01-01

Glycolipid transfer protein

The glycolipid transfer protein (GLTP) is a ubiquitous, cytosolic protein that selectively mediates the transfer of glycolipids between lipid membranes in vitro. The biochemical properties of GLTP are well known, but the precise biological function of the protein remains elusive. The GLTP structure is unique from other lipid binding/transferring proteins; hence the protein is now considered as a prototype and founding member for a new GLTP superfamily. It is likely that GLTP is involved in events on the cytosolic side of the plasma membrane or the endoplasmatic reticulum, possibly functioning as a carrier of glycolipids or as an intracellular sensor of glycolipid levels. Some studies suggest that GLTP may be involved in the intracellular translocation/sensoring of glucosylceramide in particular. By pursuing different research methods I intend to shed more light on the biological role of GLTP. I will examine how the GLTP gene expression and the GLTP protein levels in cells are affected by specific chemical and structural alterations (e.g. induction of cell stress, changes in plasmamembrane composition). I will also try to elucidate the potential role of GLTP regarding glycosphingolipid lysosomal storage diseases. Furthermore, gene chip technology will be applied to find out what genes are activated in cells with up- and down regulated levels of GLTP.