Mailing Address: 220 Donner Laboratory, Berkeley, CA 94720-5230
Email Address: email@example.com
Research in Dr. Forte's laboratory is concerned with the study of lipoproteins and their role in human disease. Currently, Dr. Forte is studying paraoxonase 1 (PON 1), an enzyme transported on high density lipoproteins (HDL, the "good lipoprotein"). This enzyme has protective functions against heart disease and possibly Alzheimer's Disease as well. Both these diseases are part of the aging scenario. In atherogenesis, PON 1 protects against early oxidative events engendered by oxidative bursts and the accumulation of lipoxygenases in the subendothelial space. These oxidative events, if not ameliorated, will lead to the oxidation of low density lipoproteins (LDL, the "bad lipoprotein") in the artery wall and the onset of inflammatory responses that lead to the accumulation of lipids in the artery wall, i.e., initial events in plaque formation. The mechanism by which PON 1 protects against oxidative events is poorly understood. Little is known about the physiological substrate for the enzyme and nothing is known about the catalytic center for the enzyme's function. Dr. Forte and her collaborators aim to unravel the function of PON 1 and decipher its structure. Such knowledge will lead to the development of new strategies for increasing the functional efficacy of the enzyme during the aging process.