We are interested in the molecular connection between superantigens from S. aureus and the insulin signaling pathway in human adipocytes, and consequently the function of glucose and glycerol transporters. We are also investigating the nature of the interplay between leukemia cells and adipocytes. Leukemic stem cells have been shown to utilize the adipose tissue microenvironment to support their metabolism and help them evade chemotherapy. We want to elucidate what molecules are responsible for the induced lipolysis and how the lipid loaded leukemic cells persist chemotherapy, and if was can inhibit the interplay and use that in cancer therapy. To resolve these questions, we apply interdisciplinary approach by combining structural biology and microscopy.
The main objectives for Lindkvist laboratory are to make use of structural biology techniques, such as X-ray crystallography, and combine that with microscopy to reveal mechanisms of action in the metabolic systems in the human body. We have for many years been studying the role of bacterial toxins (superantigens) in the immune system, as well as the specificity of certain channels facilitating the transport of glucose and glycerol. More recent insights have generated an entirely new perspective suggesting that an altered microbiota can contribute to development of insulin resistance. But the molecular connection between altered microbiota and insulin resistance, and hence development of metabolic disorders, is still unclear. Yet, recently it was discovered that bacterial toxins (superantigens) cause rabbits to develop the hallmark symptoms of type 2 diabetes, including insulin resistance and glucose intolerance.