Raphael A. Zoeller

Raphael A. Zoeller, Ph.D.

Associate Professor of Pharmacology, Physiology & Biophysics


Forward Genetics: Animal Cell Lines Defective in Lipid Biosynthesis

Lipids are not only structural units of membranes. They also participate in important cellular functions, serving as second messengers, hormones, pheromones and membrane anchors for proteins. Although several “active” lipid species have been identified, there are many others that remain undiscovered. To identify functional roles for lipids, we’ve developed mutant animal cell lines that are deficient in the biosynthesis and/or transport of specific lipid species (forward genetics). To date, our laboratory has isolated ten unique cell lines with defects in different aspects of animal cell lipid metabolism, biosynthesis and transport. Using these mutants, we can determine what cellular processes are affected by the loss of the lipid, establishing a role for the lipid in that process, and examine the metabolism of the lipid(s). The mutants can also serve as tools for the isolation of the genes involved in their biosynthesis, metabolism or transport. Most importantly, the study of these mutants leads to new biochemistry, not achievable through conventional approaches.

Lab Page


BU Profile