THESIS DEFENSE — PUBLIC SEMINAR: ELUCIDATING THE ROLES OF MFSD2A AND LYSOPHOSPHATIDYLCHOLINES IN BRAIN GROWTH AND FUNCTION

Start Date & Time: 
Thursday, 26 April, 2018 - 14:00
End Date & Time: 
Thursday, 26 April, 2018 - 15:00
Venue: 

Meeting Room 7C, Level 7, Duke-NUS

Speaker: 
Speaker Details: 

CHAN JIA PEI
IBM PhD PROGRAM ( INTAKE 2013)

Synopsis: 

Our lab identified Mfsd2a as a omega-3 fatty acid transporter that is abundantly expressed at the blood-brain barrier (BBB) which transports omega-3 fatty acids such as DHA in the form of lysophosphatidylcholines (LPCs) from the blood to the brain. Two main phenotypes presented by Mfsd2a knockout mice are microcephaly and specific deficiency of DHA in brain phospholipid pools. My PhD thesis research sought out to achieve two main goals: 1. To further characterize the microcephaly phenotype, 2. To elucidate roles of DHA in brain growth. In the first part of the study we discovered that Mfsd2a expression at the BBB is critical for postnatal brain growth. Major postnatal brain growth processes such as neurite extension and myelination were disrupted in these models. In the second part of the study, by utilising both in vivo and in vitro cell models, we discovered that DHA balances de novo lipogenesis pathways during brain development by regulating activities of Sterol Regulatory-Element Binding Protein (Srebp) transcription factors. The following conceptual advancements has been made: We discovered that blood-derived lipids (LPCs) are important for postnatal brain growth and we demonstrated that DHA functions as regulator of de novo lipogenesis in developing brains.