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Projects

Endocannabinoid Transport

Endocannabinoids are important physiological lipid modulators of major neurotransmitters in the CNS as well as of immune and metabolic processes. Although there is a lot of knowledge on how endocannabinoids are generated and inactivated, the molecular machinery of endocannabinoid trafficking is still poorly understood (see the recent review: Nicolussi & Gertsch, 2015). In this project we generate novel molecular tools to study endocannabinoid membrane transport in neurons and immune cells (Chicca et al., 2012, Nicolussi et al., 2014). We develop endocannabinoid uptake inhibitors as potential therapeutic agents for neuropsychiatric and inflammatory diseases in collaboration with industry partners. The biochemical and behavioral effects of pharmacological blockage of endocannabinoid cellular uptake are explored in different animal models. In parallel, we aim to identify the putative membrane protein involved in endocannabinoid membrane transport. Relevant literature
Nicolussi S, Gertsch J. (2015) Endocannabinoid transport revisited. Vitam Horm. 98, 441-85. Chicca A, Marazzi J, Nicolussi S, Gertsch J. (2012) Evidence for bidirectional endocannabinoid transport across cell membranes. J Biol Chem. 287, 34660-82. Nicolussi S, Chicca A, Rau M, Rihs S, Soeberdt M, Abels C, Gertsch J. (2014) Correlating FAAH and anandamide cellular uptake inhibition using N-alkylcarbamate inhibitors: from ultrapotent to hyperpotent. Biochem Pharmacol. 92, 669-89.


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