Research Activities

The Dennis group has studied the structure and function of phospholipases for the past 28 years. We have extensively characterized the cobra venom phospholipase A2 and from these studies have developed a model for the action of soluble enzymes at phospholipid surfaces. These studies have been extended to numerous other phospholipases. We have also explored the role that these enzymes play in various cell function in macrophages, aminiotic WISH cells, and in neural tissues.

Since phospholipase A2 liberates arachidonic acid, it occupies an important position in the eicosanoid cascade and is partially responsible for the regulation of prostaglandin production. The regulation of the production of these compounds has been shown to be important in inflammation, the onset of premature labor, and the etiology of various neural degenerative diseases.

Thus understanding how phospholipase A2 functions and how to control its activity, offer important avenues for developing potent pharmacological agents for controlling numerous diseases.