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June 22, 2022 - Current Quotation #38: "May you find as much peace as the relief you leave behind" (Spanish proverb). Sadly, the future does not seem to look brighter.

June 14, 2022 - "That of the Spanish was always a long and painful road to nowhere, marked by vileness and infamy. Paradoxically, all of the greatness and brilliance of our history is compatible with our miserable human condition; one is a complement or consequence of the other, and vice versa" (Arturo Pérez-Reverte, Spanish writer and journalist). Summer 2022 group meeting schedule here.

June 10, 2022 - In a recent article in Nature, adipose triacylglycerol lipase (ATGL) is identified as a major candidate enzyme for the biosynthesis of branched fatty acid esters of hydroxyfatty acids (FAHFA). According to the authors, ATGL hydrolyzes triacylglycerol and transfers the resulting fatty acid to a nearby hydroxyfatty acid. This results in FAHFA formation via a direct transacylation reaction. Unexpected, to say the least.

May 30, 2022 - More on Mead acid. A recent study in Cell Chemical Biology suggests that elongation/desaturation of oleic acid to form Mead acid regulates ferroptosis-like signals that restrict replication of hepatitis C virus in hepatocytes.

May 26, 2022 - Time for grant writing inevitably brings about the issue of popularity versus excellence in scientific publishing. Things have become so perverted that most policy makers can't distinguish between both concepts. So here we go again to clarify: vanity journals are primarily concerned with fashion - they have to sell. With this we are not saying at all that vanity journals publish bad or irrelevant science (though they frequently do), we just say that there is a lot of excellent science being published in 'lesser' journals which does not receive the respect or attention it deserves.

May 24, 2022 - From the For Better Science blog: "Spanish science transitioned from being a provincial swamp of ignorant nepotism under Franco’s fascist dictatorship to an elitist swamp of arrogant nepotism with a choke-hold on European and international research funds. Young researchers, who once returned from abroad to reform the country’s bogged-down scientific system, have grown into the provincial greedy power-clutching tyrants they have dethroned. Faculty jobs once given to family members, now go to loyal members of your scientific family..." A tad aggressive, a tad harsh, a tad exaggerate... wholly true.

May 5, 2022 - The latest installment of the specialized pro-resolving mediator controversy (see March 9 entry) has reached unexpected heights and is commented on in Science. Best part, the last sentence: "no one expects an easy resolution to this highly inflamed dispute."

April 29, 2022 - We just learned that the review paper we published in BBA in June 2019 (this one) is the journal's most cited article of the last three years. This is, obviously, a good thing to note.

April 11, 2022 - Quotation #37 is actually two similar ones, both from or attributed to Thomas Alva Edison, American inventor and businessman. "Our greatest weakness lies in giving up; the most certain way to succeed is always to try just one more time", and "People are not remembered by the number of times they fail, but by the number of times they succeed; and the number of times they succeed is in direct proportion to the number of times they fail and keep on trying. Every wrong step is another step forward.”

April 6, 2022 - An interesting study published in Cells suggests that mice may retain cellular memories of exposure to arachidonic acid across generations. In particular, continued exposure of the animals to arachidonic acid increases their content in 16:1n-9, which is quite reminiscent of our own data showing the up-regulation of this fatty acid in arachidonate-treated human monocytes.

April 1, 2022 - New insights into the interaction of cytosolic phospholipase A2α with membrane phosphoinositides. coming soon to your favorite eicosanoid library!

March 29, 2022 - "Four things cannot be hidden for a long time: scientific facts, stupidity, wealth, and poverty" (Ibn Rushd, Averroes, Muslim Spanish philosopher). Spring 2022 group meeting schedule here.

March 28, 2022 - 15-Hydroxyeicosatetraenoic acid (15-HETE) is most often regarded as a lipoxygenase metabolite. However, 15-HETE can also be produced at very significant quantities by cyclooxygenases. Thus, before taking 15-HETE production as an indicator of lipoxygenase activity in cells, it would be good to assess its levels in the presence of a cyclooxygenase inhibitor.

March 24, 2022 - Another study implicating secreted phospholipase A2 in the pathology of COVID-19. This time is not the group IIA enzyme, but the group IID. The work is in mice, perhaps that makes the difference.

March 17, 2022 - People often do not pay much attention to the abbreviations list in a manuscript. Not a good idea if the author has dedicated a lot of time in preparing it.

March 9, 2022 - The discovery of oxygenated products of omega-3 fatty acids and their role as resolutory/ant-inflammatory mediators was always received with much skepticism by the scientific community. A review just appearing in Frontiers in Pharmacology calls into question much of the evidence gathered along the years regarding specialized pro-resolving mediators. As this area of research is tangential to our work we have no opinion on the subject, but the review is indubitably a must read.

February 28, 2022 - Current Quotation #36: "Nothing can be stolen from an empty place" (Spanish proverb). In Dylanian terms, when you got nothing, you got nothing to lose.

February 15, 2022 - We bring Mead acid (5,8,11-eicosatrienoic acid) again to this section. It is a non-essential polyunsaturated fatty acid of the n-9 series that, unusually, carries the name of its discoverer, James F. Mead. Cultured cell lines are often found to contain significant amounts of Mead acid. This is thought to occur to compensate somehow for the low levels of polyunsaturated fatty acids of the n-6 and n-3 series that cell lines exhibit. For quick reference, here is our very nice fatty acid list.

February 7, 2022 - María Zambrano was a writer and philosopher, widely regarded as one the most brilliant minds of the 20th century in Spain. She was awarded two of the most important literary prizes in the Spanish-speaking world, the Cervantes Prize in 1981 and the Prince of Asturias Prize in 1988, the first woman to receive both recognitions. We welcome (back) David Balgoma as a María Zambrano Fellow in the Biomedical Sciences.

January 31, 2021 - In the April issue of Nature Chemical Biology, Kagan and co-workers published a study demonstrating the key role of group VIA calcium-independent phospholipase A2 (iPLA2β) in averting ferroptosis by eliminating oxidized phospholipids that act as ferroptotic signals. It seems like all the pieces of the puzzle are finally coming together, and the actual biological roles of iPLA2β are finally coming to the spotlight. This is the paper we distinguished as Paper of the Year 2021.

January 18, 2021 - Current Quotation #35: "I have learned not to try to convince anyone. The work of convincing is an attempt to colonize the other" (José Saramago, Portuguese writer, Nobel Laureate in Literature 1998).

January 14, 2021 - We got mentioned again in the Lipid Matters blog. This time in a kind of different way, but hey, as we often say, free exposure is always welcome.

January 13, 2021 - "It is not so much that I have confidence in scientists being right, but that I have so much in nonscientists being wrong" (Isaac Asimov, American writer and biochemist). Winter 2022 group meeting schedule here.   

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