Research Expertise and Interest
metabolism, nutritional biochemistry, fat-soluble vitamins, retinoids, retinoic acid, retinol, vitamin A, vitamin D, analytical biochemistry
The Napoli lab focuses on regulation of the molecular events that control retinol (vitamin A) homeostasis, especially activation of retinol into atRA (all-trans-retinoic acid). Retinol supports a wide range of biological actions essential for vision, development, normal cell proliferation, differentiation, reproduction, the immune response, and nervous system development, maturation and function. For example, low retinol status impairs short-term memory formation through hindering hippocampus long-term potentiation and long-term depression. Retinol does not function directly; rather it serves as metabolic precursor for atRA, the retinoid that effects the systemic (non-visual) actions attributed to vitamin A. atRA controls the differentiation status of multiple cell types, and regulates gene expression in differentiated cells, including genes crucial to spermatogenesis, hematopoiesus, nerve plasticity, estrus, placental development, embryogenesis, and apoptosis. atRA also serves as a tumor suppressor. Biosynthesis and catabolism control atRA concentrations in temporally-spatially precise patterns to impose specificity on the pleiotropic, systemic actions of retinol. The Napoli lab uses techniques of biochemistry, molecular biology, cell biology and analytical biochemistry (hplc, LC/MS) to determine the precise paths of retinol activation, their regulation, and their relationship to aging and disease.