Member Listing


Antonio Vidal-Puig


Department of Clinical Biochemistry, Metabolic Research Laboratories, MRC Metabolic Diseases Unit, Wellcome Trust Sanger Institute




Principal Investigator

Research Summary

Vidal-Puig’s research focuses on elucidating the molecular mechanisms linking obesity with insulin resistance, diabetes and cardiometabolic complications and on the development of related therapeutic strategies. His research strategies include a combination of hypothesis driven and non-biased systems approaches that make extensive use of animal models, stem cell biology, human biological samples (including induced pluripotent stem cells), sophisticated omics technologies and bioinformatics integration.

Vidal-Puig’s lab creativity is reflected in the “adipose tissue expandability hypothesis” and the concept of “lipotoxicity” to explain the association between obesity and insulin resistance. His specific scientific contributions to four lines of research are: 1) defining the adipose tissue expandability and lipotoxicity hypothesis (Vidal-Puig, JCI 1996 (Cit 513), 1997 (Cit 766); PLoS Genetics 2007 (Cit 211); 2) proposing the use of energy dissipating strategies to reverse lipotoxicity by promoting mitochondrial biogenesis (PLoS Biol et al 2006, Cit 198), mitochondrial uncoupling (BBRC 1997, Cit 710, JBC 2000 Cit 639)) and brown fat differentiation and activation (Cell 2012, Cit 160); 3) establishing the relevance of hypothalamic lipid metabolism in controlling energy homeostasis (Cell Metab 2008, Cit 277)) and thyroid hormone (Nature Medicine, 2010, Cit 266) and BMP8b controlling brown fat activation (Cell 2012); and 4) the pioneering use of systems biology and stem cell approaches to elucidate the role of specific lipids and networks in the development the metabolic syndrome.


Biochemistry and Molecular Biology, Cell Biology, Endocrinology

Selected Publications

Whittle AJ, Jiang M, Peirce V, Relat J, Virtue S, Ebinuma H, Fukamachi I, Yamaguchi T, Takahashi M, Murano T, Tatsuno I, Takeuchi M, Nakaseko C, Jin W, Jin Z, Campbell M, Schneider WJ, Vidal-Puig A*, Bujo H*. Soluble LR11/SorLA represses thermogenesis in adipose tissue and correlates with BMI in humans. Nat Commun. 2015 Nov 20;6:8951. doi: 10.1038/ncomms9951.* Corresponding Author

Tan CY, Virtue S, Bidault G, Dale M, Hagen R, Griffin JL, Vidal-Puig A. Brown Adipose Tissue Thermogenic Capacity Is Regulated by Elovl6. Cell Rep. 2015 Dec 15;13(10):2039-47. doi: 10.1016/j.celrep.2015.11.004. Epub 2015 Nov 25.

Barbarroja N, Rodriguez-Cuenca S, Nygren H, Camargo A, Pirraco A, Relat J, Cuadrado I, Pellegrinelli V, Medina-Gomez G, Lopez-Pedrera C, Tinahones FJ, Symons JD, Summers SA, Oresic M, Vidal-Puig A. Increased dihydroceramide/ceramide ratio mediated by defective expression of degs1 impairs adipocyte differentiation and function. Diabetes. 2014 Oct 28. pii: DB_140359.

Virtue S, Feldmann H, Christian M, Tan CY, Masoodi M, Dale M, Lelliott C, Burling K, Campbell M, Eguchi N, Voshol P, Sethi JK, Parker M, Urade Y, Griffin JL, Cannon B, Vidal-Puig A. A new role for Lipocalin Prostaglandin D Synthase in the regulation of brown adipose tissue substrate utilisation. Diabetes 61(12):3139-47 (2012).

Carobbio S, Hagen RM, Lelliott CJ, Slawik M, Medina-Gomez G, Tan CY, Sicard A, Atherton HJ, Barbarroja N, Bjursell M, Bohlooly-Y M, Virtue S, Tuthill A, Lefai E, Laville M, Wu T, Considine RV, Vidal H, Langin D, Oresic M, Tinahones FJ, Fernandez-Real JM, Griffin JL, Sethi JK, López M, Vidal-Puig A. Adaptive changes of the Insig1/SREBP1/SCD1 set point help adipose tissue to cope with increased storage demands of obesity. Diabetes 2013 Aug 6.

Whittle AJ, Carobbio S, Martins L, Slawik M, Hondares E, Vázquez MJ, Morgan D, Csikasz RI, Gallego R, Rodriguez-Cuenca S, Dale M, Virtue S, Villarroya F, Cannon B, Rahmouni K, López M, Vidal-Puig A. BMP8B Increases Brown Adipose Tissue Thermogenesis through Both Central and Peripheral Actions. Cell. 2012 May 11;149(4):871-85.

Pietiläinen KH, Róg T, Seppänen-Laakso T, Virtue S, Gopalacharyulu P, Tang J, Rodriguez-Cuenca S, Maciejewski A, Naukkarinen J, Ruskeepää AL, Niemelä PS, Yetukuri L, Tan CY, Velagapudi V, Castillo S, Nygren H, Hyötyläinen T, Rissanen A, Kaprio J, Yki-Järvinen H, Vattulainen I, Vidal-Puig A, Orešič M. Association of lipidome remodelling in the adipocyte membrane with acquired obesity in humans. PLoS Biol. 2011 Jun;9(6):e1000623.