Makoto Arita, Ph.D.
Laboratory for Metabolomics, RIKEN-IMS
Graduate School of Pharmaceutical Sciences, Keio University
Graduate School of Medical Life Science, Yokohama City University
Makoto Arita is a principal investigator of the ‘LipoQuality’ project in JSPS Grant-in-Aid for Scientific Research on Innovative Areas, that focuses on the mechanisms in which specific molecular species of lipids, namely LipoQuality, are required to elicit biological functions, and their coordinated dynamics to maintain cellular and tissue homeostasis.
The main biological functions of lipids include formation of cell membranes, storage and production of energy, and regulation of cellular signals. Different types of lipid molecules facilitate various bio-reactions and regulations, and the precise determination of each molecular species of lipids becomes a prerequisite to comprehensively understand their biological roles. With this background, Arita and colleagues launched the ‘LipoQuality’ project, and developed advanced lipidomics platform to study the metabolism, distribution and dynamics of individual class of lipids. One of their main projects is to address the mechanisms how the balance of omega-3 and omega-6 polyunsaturated fatty acids (PUFA) in the body affects human health and diseases. Notably, imbalance of these PUFAs is associated with increased risk of inflammatory diseases, heart disease, atherosclerosis, and metabolic syndrome. The mass spectroscopy instrumentation that forms the core of the advanced untargeted lipidomics platform of the ‘LipoQuality’ project offers state of the art instrumentation for the global analysis of diverse molecular species of lipids.
Arita and his colleagues are applying advanced lipidomics platform to gut ecosystem to investigate metabolic pathways important for tissue homeostatis and to identify bioactive lipids produced by gut microbiota.
 Kishino, S. et al, Polyunsaturated fatty acid saturation by gut lactic acid bacteria affecting host lipid composition, Proc. Natl. Acad. Sci, USA 110, 17808 (2013).
 Endo J et al., 18-HEPE, an n-3 fatty acid metabolite released by macrophages, prevents pressure overload-induced maladaptive cardiac remodeling. J Exp Med 211, 1673-1687 (2014).