The emerging significance of membrane biophysical properties in cell function and pathology motivates our research!
The biological roles of several bioactive lipids have been linked to changes promoted by these molecules in the structure and properties of membranes. Such alterations include the formation of specialized membrane regions, also known as membrane domains. Typical examples are the lipid rafts and the ceramide-platforms. It is hypothesized that the specific composition and biophysical properties of these domains reflect their biological role. In our team we investigate the interplay between lipid components of biological membranes. Our goal is to understand how the biophysical properties of biological membranes regulate cellular events, and to elucidate molecular mechanisms underlying the biological action of bioactive lipids. To understand the complexity of lipid organization in biological membranes, we employ a combined fluorescence spectroscopy/microscopy approach and the use of multiple fluorescent probes. In addition, we take advantage of artificial membranes and we develop synthetic systems that better mimic subcellular compartments to investigate how specific lipids modulate the biophysical properties of cell membranes.