Molecular MedicineMetabolic engineering and diabetes therapy
Joan J. Guinovart
Professor (Biochemistry and Molecular Biology Dept. - UB)
The group directed by Prof. Guinovart is involved in several projects on glycogen metabolism and its dysfunctions in diabetes and Lafora disease. Studies on glycogen metabolism have allowed the identification of many enzymes and intermediate metabolites involved in the synthesis and degradation of this polysaccharide. However, new factors and processes that participate in glycogen regulation are constantly being discovered. Moreover, data on the mechanisms of control in distinct organs and in diverse physiological conditions are incomplete. The alteration of one of these mechanisms may lead to serious pathologies such as diabetes mellitus and Lafora disease. The discovery of compounds that counteract the alterations of glucose metabolism is of potential interest for the treatment of diabetes mellitus.
- To study the mechanisms of glucose storage in the form of glycogen in liver, muscle and brain and its alterations in diabetes and neurological disorders.
- To identify and characterize novel compounds with anti-diabetic action.
- To identify novel potential molecular targets for the design of anti-diabetic compounds.
1) Regulation of hepatic, muscular and neuronal glycogen metabolism. Alterations in pathological conditions: diabetes mellitus and Lafora disease.
a) Identification and functional analysis of the phosphorylation sites in the liver isoform of glycogen synthase.
b) Identification of the regulatory domains of glycogen synthases through structural and phylogenetic analyses.
c) Analysis of the physiological significance of the translocation of the muscle and liver isoenzymes of glycogen synthase.
d) Characterization of glycogen synthesis in neurons. Study of the components of the glycogen synthesis and degradation pathways in this cellular type.
e) Study of the alterations in glycogen metabolism in pathological situations.
- Analysis of alterations in the post-translational modification pattern or in the subcellular localization of glycogen synthase in diabetes mellitus.
- Study of the alterations in neuronal glycogen metabolism that lead to the production of polyglucosan bodies in Lafora disease. Involvement of laforin and malin.
2) Study of anti-diabetic agents and their possible application in diabetes treatment.
- Identification of the molecular targets of the anti-diabetic agent sodium tungstate.
- Identification of new molecular targets for the design of anti-diabetic agents.
* shared senior authorship
Group news & mentions
The newspaper El Correo, edited in Vizcaya, publishes a whole-page article on the link between the brain and the liver with respect to appetite control.
The liver stores excess glucose, sugar, in the form of glycogen—chains of glucose—, which is later released to cover body energy requirements.
Joan J. Guinovart, director of the Institute for Research in Biomedicine (IRB Barcelona) has been awarded the prestigious "Creu de Sant Jordi" 2014 (St.
The magazine of the Federation of Spanish Diabetics, DiabetesFEDE, publishes an interview with Joan Guinovart on the latest developments in the field of cell metabolism, in particu
Biomedical professionals require skills to communicate effectively, both when writing and when presenting their research orally. However, many do not receive specific training for this purpose.
English is the language used by the international scientific community. Although Spanish biomedical professionals channel great efforts into learning English, they often lack the specialized knowledge of the language required to communicate their science clearly.
This training seminar aims to help students to improve their scientific English. The course introduces some basic concepts underlying the oral and written communication of science and gives participants the opportunity to put theory into practice in a relaxed open discussion and feedback session. Finally, it introduces tools and tips for the student once the course has finished.
Speaker: Marie Bijlmakers, King's College London, UK
Speaker: Fernando Balestra, EPFL / SV / ISREC / UPGON, Lausanne, Switzerland
Speaker: Dr. Marco Milan - ICREA Research Professor, Group Leader Development & Growth Control Lab, Cell & Developmental Biology Programme Head, IRB Barcelona
This group receives financial support from the following sources:
- Instituto de Salud Carlos III. Ministerio de Sanidad y Consumo (Spanish National Institute of Health)
- Fundació “La Caixa” ("la Caixa" Foundation)
- Ministerio de Educación y Ciencia (Spanish Ministry of Education and Science)
- Fundación Marcelino Botín (M. Botín Foundation)
- Marató de TV3