Researchers Discover That Rare Fat Molecule Helps Drive Cell Death

Brent Stockwell, PhD

Columbia University researchers and a colleague at Sloan-Kettering have found that a rare type of lipid is a key driver of ferroptosis, a form of cell death originally discovered by Columbia professor Brent Stockwell, PhD, who led the new study. Dr. Stockwell is Chair of the Department of Biological Sciences and a Professor at Columbia University in the Departments of Biological Science and Chemistry. The findings provide new detail on how cells die during ferroptosis and could improve understanding of how to stop ferroptosis in contexts where it is harmfully occurring – in neurodegenerative diseases, for example – or induce it in contexts where it could be useful, such as using it to kill dangerous cancer cells. The new research found that a rare type of lipid with two polyunsaturated fatty acyl tails, called a diPUFA phospholipid, was present in a range of contexts where ferroptosis was occurring, including in aging brains and Huntington disease-affected brain tissue. The finding indicates that the lipid is efficient at promoting ferroptosis.

Login Or Register To Read Full Story