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Lipoprotein Structure and Dynamics

Project Lipos
Research Area Computational Biophysics
Principal Investigator(s) Prof. Ilpo Vattulainen
  • Inst of Physics, Tampere Univ of Tech, Finland
  • Wihuri Research Institute, Finland
  • University of Groningen, Netherlands
  • The University of Western Ontario, Canada


Lipoproteins are known as carriers of cholesterol. Low density lipoproteins are known as the key players in the formation of atherosclerotic lesions in the arterial intima because of the propensity of their modified forms to accumulate extracellularly in the form of small lipid droplets. High density lipoproteins, on the other hand, are believed to remove excess cholesterol from plaque in arteries, thus slowing the buildup. However, despite their importance, the structures and hence the functions of these particles are not known. Consequently, the objective of this project is to clarify the structures of high density and low density lipoproteins and to elucidate the effects of structural modifications in these particles. To this end, we employ both atomistic and coarse-grained models to study complex lipoprotein particles over time scales that are far beyond the present state-of-the-art. The project will provide major insight into the understanding of the mechanisms involved in the key steps of atherosclerosis.


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