Molecular Metabolism

Metabolism can be governed by hormones or other molecules that act on nuclear receptors and transcription factors that alter gene expression. In turn, altered enzyme expression or changes in post-translational modification can alter the metabolic flux of their associated pathways.

These molecular mechanisms are important for the nutritional and hormonal regulation of metabolism. Inasmuch as many of these molecular mechanisms are disrupted by disease, an important goal is to understand precisely how they act on metabolic flux.

The Burgess lab has investigated how hormones (e.g. insulin, glucagon, FGF-21), signaling pathways (e.g. insulin signaling, mTORC1), and molecular factors (e.g. PPARa, Pgc1a, Pgc1b) alter metabolic flux in pathways of glucose, lipid, and energy metabolism.

In addition, we have examined how pharmacological interventions (e.g. bile acid sequestration, fibrates, metformin) that target various molecular components alter metabolic pathways related to obesity and diabetes.

The long-term regulation of metabolism is achieved by sophisticated inputs from hormones, nuclear receptors, and cell signaling pathways, many of which are tractable pharmacologic targets. Thus, we are interested in understanding the specific influences that these factors have on regulating metabolic flux.


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Zhao G, Jeoung NH, Burgess SC, Rosaaen-Stowe KA, Inagaki T, Latif S, et al. Overexpression of pyruvate dehydrogenase kinase 4 in heart perturbs metabolism and exacerbates calcineurin-induced cardiomyopathy. American Journal of Physiology Heart and Circulatory Physiology. 2008;294(2):H936-43. PMID: 18083902.

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Burgess SC, Leone TC, Wende AR, Croce MA, Chen Z, Sherry AD, Malloy CR, Finck BN. Diminished hepatic gluconeogenesis via defects in tricarboxylic acid cycle flux in peroxisome proliferator-activated receptor gamma coactivator-1alpha (PGC-1alpha)-deficient mice. JBC. 2006;281(28):19000-8. PMID: 16670093.