August 19, 2019 - Membrane phospholipids or neutral lipids as
primary sources of free arachidonic acid for lipid mediator
signaling in monocytes? Bet on the former
August 13, 2019 - Current Quotation #5: The Lord gave and the
Lord has taken away; blessed be the name of the Lord” (Job 1:21).
August 9, 2019 - It is great to receive good news from time to
time, especially about matters you had almost completely forgotten or had not much confidence that they would work as planned.
August 5, 2019 - We have come to realize that most people ignore
the difference between the two ways to designate a fatty acid with
double bonds, the omega system and the n–x (n minus x) system. Well,
they may look the same, and in practical terms they do not differ
much but, truth be told, they do not mean the same. We posted this
like five years ago and re-post it again for those with restless
ears: n is a magnitude (number of carbons), ω is just a name to
designate the last carbon of the chain; n–x is a subtraction, ω-x is
not. n–x gives us the position of the last double bond counting from
the carboxyl group, which is, incidentally, the proper way to count
fatty acid carbons. ω-x indicates, counting from the terminal methyl
group or omega end, the carbon at which the first double bond
occurs. Let's take arachidonic acid (20:4) as an
example: it is an n–6 fatty acid because
its last double bond is located at C14 (20 minus 6); it is an ω-6
fatty acid because if we look at the molecule from the terminal
methyl group, the first unsaturation occurs at the sixth carbon
(which is C15).
July 31, 2019 - Hot off the press: New roles for cytosolic
in phospholipid arachidonic acid remodeling,
July 29, 2019 - Read in a letter of advice to candidates
applying for a research position in some fancy university: "Working
efficiently is more expected than working hard, even if one does not
exclude the other and vice versa." Ah, those were the times!
July 26, 2019 - Double submission has been
defined as "the submission to a journal of a paper that is under
concurrent review by another publication." Note that 'concurrent' is
the operative word here. Whether this is a dishonest practice or
not, depends on who you ask.
Some will argue that this is merely a strategy to save time.
Publishers will consider it unethical, mostly for possible copyright
violations. Whatever the side of the fence one is in, better not
tempt the Fates.
July 12, 2019 - Current Quotation #4: "The surest way to work up
a crusade in favor of some good cause is to promise people they will
have a chance of mistreating someone" (Aldous Huxley, English
writer and philosopher).
July 5, 2019 - "Monkey see, monkey do" is an expression used,
according to the
Free Dictionary, to refer to children imitating and copying what
they see adults or other children do. Interestingly, some grown-ups
in the neighborhood frequently behave the same. Trouble is, they may
also be pretty annoying, sometimes even dangerous. Like monkeys with
guns, you know.
June 14, 2019 - Sometimes things just do not work out the way
they were planned. Usually there is a good reason for it. While the
detrimental influence of the "one size fits all" approach currently
in place cannot be left aside, doing less than the competition or
resting on one's laurels is rarely a good strategy for
June 12, 2019 - "A time will come when our descendants will
be amazed to find out that we did not know things that are so obvious to them" (Lucius Annaeus Seneca, Spanish-Roman philosopher). Summer 2019 group meeting schedule
June 5, 2019 - Another
palmitoleic acid isomer, the one having the double bound at C10,
has been found to possess anti-inflammatory properties, just like
the n-9, n-7 and n-10 isomers. This novel n-6 isomer is synthesized
by bacteria and accumulates in triacylglycerol. There seems to be a
pattern in here...
June 3, 2019 - Lipins, signaling hubs in innate immunity and
inflammation, coming soon to your favorite eicosanoid
May 22, 2019 - Bilbao is definitely a place for serious mass
spec-based lipidomic research. That is one reason why it is
always a pleasure to visit the city. Other reasons are the
mushrooms, walnuts and chestnuts, the headsets and the husbands...
So much to choose from.
May 17, 2019 - There may be ladies who are sure that all that
glitters is gold, but in truth it is not what people think, but what they, in their inner self, know. So, when
you see some ladies shining white light, do not be too confident
that everything will still turn to gold.
May 7, 2019 - Current Quotation #3: "Why do you see the speck that is in your brother's
eye, but do not notice the log that is in your own eye? How can you
say to your brother, ‘Brother, let me take out the speck that is in
your eye,’ when you yourself do not see the log that is in your own
eye?" (Luke 6:41-42). Most definitely, to keep order in our
nation no trivial matter it is.
April 17, 2019 - Science history papers are always so much
fun to read.
Here is the latest one, the history of aspirin, from Sumerian
and Egyptian times to the present.
April 11, 2019 - Formation of FAHFA (fatty acid esters of
hydroxy fatty acids) as a possible protective mechanism to
counteract the pro-apoptotic effects of hydroxy fatty acids
accumulating in cells? Find it in your favorite eicosanoid
April 9, 2019 - The following was said long ago, 21 centuries to
be precise, by Pompeius Trogus, Gallo-Roman historian:
"Spaniards are fierce and very brave, but with a big flaw; when they
do not have an external enemy against whom to fight, they pass time
fighting each other." It is remarkable that after so many years, we are
still in the exact same place. By the way, that was Current
April 2, 2019 - Now that the Directorial Quotations are gone for
good, it looks like a good idea to bring to life something similar
but slightly different: the Current Quotations, yay! Of course, in
the same good-spirited manner as always. Here is #1: "Between the inappropriateness of disrespecting our
foe and the indignity of smiling at him, there is a fair
middle ground: to ignore him." Rafael Sánchez Ferlosio died on a
Monday and in Madrid.
April 1, 2019 - Inspiring advice from another of the
lipid giants of our era: Bill Smith's
Reflections in JBC. Among the many pearls of wisdom contained in
the article, we selected this: "I (Bill Smith, graduate student) was
showing him (Bill Lands, thesis advisor) some data that I had been
too lazy to interpret. He listened briefly, gave me a disdainful
look, and then walked away without saying anything. He was actually
'saying' that it was time for me to grow up and take charge of my
project. And I did."
March 21, 2019 - Spring alters the blood (it sounds so
much better in Spanish). Four years ago, the good guys at DiabetesFede featured our work in their magazine. They did it again
and.. well, you read it. We may well be the only group affiliated to
CIBERDEM that has been interviewed twice by the magazine.
March 18, 2019 - "Nature is trying to tell us something. In
fact, she's screaming in our ears. If we would only listen" (John
A. Glomset, American biochemist). Spring 2019 group meeting schedule
March 14, 2019 - Looking back at the not so distant past, it
fills us with pride and satisfaction to declare how lovely it is
when a plan finally comes together.
March 11, 2019 - Interesting if somewhat smelly fact: dead
cockroaches give off a blend of various fatty acids, primarily oleic and linoleic, the
odor of which warns other fellow roaches roaming
around that they may be entering a danger zone. Similarly, the smell
of oleic acid allows ants to recognize a dead comrade ready to be
carried to the ant cemetery.
March 6, 2019 - In science, as in real life, not everything has
a solution. It is a mistake to try to find solutions for everything,
because old dogs are not willing to learn new tricks, that is clear.
February 28, 2019 - To consider is to think carefully about
(something), typically before making a decision. To reconsider is to
consider (something) again, especially for a possible change of
decision regarding it. No examples of the former word yet at hand,
so here is one of the latter: "I guess you've changed your mind. Why
don't you reconsider baby, give yourself just a little more time."
Elvis always delivers.
February 25, 2019 - A very recent
report in the vanity journal par excellence, Nature, describes
that cancer cells and related cell lines exhibit elevated levels of
the unusual fatty acid sapienic acid (6-cis-hexadecenoic
acid, 16:1n-10). Doesn't it sound quite similar to what was reported
in here about a year ago?
Great minds surely think alike.
February 22, 2019 - From the Journal of Lipid
Editorial Policy: "Acquisition of funding, collection of data,
or general supervision of the research group alone does not
constitute authorship." Fine, but as the old proverb goes, love
means deeds, not sweet reasons.
February 15, 2019 - Some folks like to lie to themselves and say
that we were born silver spoon in hand, but it ain't us, we ain't no
fortunate sons. We just did a few things the right way, and thus
have fine good people doing things the right way,
mass spec for example. No matter what
they say, it ain't us, we ain't no millionaire's sons, we ain't no
February 4, 2019 - Caproic (6:0), caprylic (8:0) and capric
(10:0) are medium chain fatty acids found at relatively high
quantities in goat milk (capra means goat in Latin). Although their
smell is rather unpleasant, their esters are commonly used in
perfumery and for artificial flavoring, which is quite ironic.
Caprylic acid in particular may also have some anti-inflammatory
effects but this needs further thorough investigation. For quick
reference, here is our old nice fatty
29, 2019 - The clot scandal that has recently spread across the
national newspapers teaches us once again that the thing that
matters the least in the world of science is precisely science.
January 22, 2019 - At the definitive end of the road, it is good
to keep in mind that staying away in silence is not at all an act of
cowardice. Many times it is rather the most courageous thing one can
do to protect the inner light within.
January 21, 2019 - The official 2019 Group Picture of the
Eicosanoid Research Division can be found
here. No one missed it this
January 9, 2019 - It was fun while it lasted. A burden
sometimes, we admit, but in many cases an enjoyable and worthwhile
experience if only for the looks of thrill and delight on the faces
of a few of the teenagers.
January 8, 2019 - In the Feb 22 issue of Nature Communications,
the crystal structure of group VIA calcium-independent phospholipase
was at long last revealed. Although some of the statements made in
the paper are extremely debatable, this work clearly constitutes a
breakthrough in the field, and will likely help develop new concepts
on enzyme catalysis and inhibitor design. This is the article we
have distinguished as Paper of the Year 2018.
January 4, 2019 - "Rich countries are rich because they dedicate
money to scientific and technological development, and poor
countries remain poor because they do not. Science is not expensive,
what is expensive is ignorance" (Bernardo Houssay, Argentine
physiologist, Nobel Laureate in Physiology or Medicine 1947). Winter 2019 group meeting schedule