PhD (2003) in Biology (Molecular Biology), Universidade de Lisboa
Assistant Professor, Biochemistry and Human Biology
Faculdade de Farmácia, Universidade de Lisboa — Av. Prof. Gama Pinto, 1649-003 Lisboa, Portugal
Elsa’s main goal is to characterize the regulatory pathways involved in brain cholesterol homeostasis, and therefore to provide a basis for the development of therapeutic approaches for diseases that stretch from genetic disorders, such as Niemann Pick Type C, to neurodegenerative disorders such as Alzheimer’s disease. Her focus has been on the potential beneficial modulation of cholesterol homeostasis through ectopic expression or pharmacological up-regulation/activation of the neuronal specific cholesterol 24-hydroxylase encoded by the cytochrome P450 CYP46A1 gene. Moreover, she has been focusing in the discovery of transcriptional regulators that can modulate neuronal cholesterol levels and in the different cellular players involved in this response.
Moutinho M, Nunes MJ, Correia JC, Gama MJ, Castro-Caldas M, Cedazo-Minguez A, Rodrigues CM, Björkhem I, Ruas JL and Rodrigues E. Neuronal cholesterol metabolism increases dendritic outgrowth and synaptic markers via a concerted action of GGTase-I and Trk. Sci Rep 2016; 6: 30928.
Moutinho M, Nunes MJ, Gomes AQ, Gama MJ, Cedazo-Minguez A, Rodrigues CM, Björkhem I, Rodrigues E. Cholesterol 24S-hydroxylase overexpression inhibits the liver X receptor (LXR) pathway by activating small guanosine triphosphate-binding proteins (sGTPases) in neuronal cells. Mol Neurobiol 2015; 51: 1489-503.
Nunes MJ, Moutinho M, Gama MJ, Rodrigues CMP and Rodrigues, E. Histone deacetylase inhibition decreases cholesterol levels in neuronal cells by modulating key genes in cholesterol synthesis, uptake and efflux. PLoS One 2013; 8: e53394.
Milagre I, Nunes MJ, Moutinho M, Rivera I, Fuso A, Scarpa S, Gama MJ, Rodrigues E. Chromatin-modifying agents increase transcription of CYP46A1, a key player in brain cholesterol elimination. J Alzheimers Dis 2010; 22: 1209-21.
Nunes MJ, Milagre I, Schnekenburger M, Gama MJ, Diederich M and Rodrigues E. Sp proteins play a critical role in histone deacetylase inhibitor-mediated derepression of CYP46A1 gene transcription. J Neurochem 2010; 113: 418-31.