Ikonen group receives the 2014 Medix price

On September 22, the research group of Elina Ikonen received the 2014 Medix award for the study revealing a previously unknown transport mechanism of cholesterol. The award of 20 000EUR was given for the best Finnish scientific article published in 2013, from the field of biomedical or clinical research. The award ceremony was part of the Minerva -foundation symposium LIPID STORAGE AND SIGNALING IN DISEASE.
In the study published in Developmental Cell in 2013, Kristiina Kanerva and colleagues found that transport of endocytosed LDL-cholesterol back to the plasmamembrane occurs through a mechanism operated by Rab8a. Cholesterol was found to be directed especially to focal adhesions, domains of plasmambrane that are involved in adhesion and movement of the cell. The researchers also observed that LDL-cholesterol enhanced cell mobility. This phenomenon helps to understand the basic mechanisms thorugh which cholesterol may modulate for example wound healing or spreading of cancer cells.

Kanerva K, Uronen RL, Blom T, Li S, Bittman R, Lappalainen P, Peränen J, Raposo G, Ikonen E. 2013. LDL cholesterol recycles to the plasma membrane via a Rab8a-Myosin5b-actin-dependent membrane transport route. Dev Cell. 27:249-62.