Macrophages as keepers of metabolic health

Nov 17, 2020

The PI3K pathway preserves metabolic health through MARCO-dependent lipid uptake by adipose tissue macrophages.

Brunner JS, Vogel A, Lercher A, Caldera M, Korosec A, Pühringer M, Hofmann M, Hatjo A, Kieler M, Quemada Garrido L, Kerndl M, Kuttke M, Mesteri I, Górna MW, Kulik M, Dominiak PM, Brandon AE, Estevez E, Egan CL, Gruber F, Schweiger M, Menche J, Bergthaler A, Weichhart T, Klavins K, Febbraio MA, Sharif O, Schabbauer G.

Nature Metabolism 2, 1427–1442 (2020)

In collaboration with researchers from the Medical University of Vienna we studied the role of the scavenger receptor MARCO in adipose tissue macrophages (ATMs). These specialized macrophages take up spillover lipids, cleaning up the adipose tissue and preventing lipotoxic effects also in other organs. This role of ATMs is important in keeping up our metabolic health, especially in obesity.

This work is only the beggining of our collaboration with dr Omar Sharif and the Schabbauer lab. Maria Górna, Marta Kulik and Paulina Dominiak will continue to analyze MARCO structure and study its role in lipid binding.

This study was covered by the University of Warsaw, PAP Nauka w Polsce (Science in Poland), Forum Akademickie and WP websites based on the press release of the Medical University of Vienna.

UPDATE 2021-01-11

The topic was covered in Dzień Dobry TVN by Maria Górna as a guest on the breakfast TV show.

BELOW: Molecular surface of the cysteine-rich domain of MARCO receptor colored by amino acid hydrophobicity. A cholesterol molecule shows high affinity to the hydrophobic regions of the receptor, marked in red.