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Licensed Unlicensed Requires Authentication Published by De Gruyter February 11, 2014

Antagonizing leptin: current status and future directions

  • Lennart Zabeau

    After finishing his biotechnology studies at Ghent University in 1998, Lennart Zabeau joined the CRL to study the mechanisms underlying cytokine receptor clustering and activation. He started to work on the interleukin-5 receptor, but later on the leptin receptor became his main research interest. He obtained a PhD in 2004. With an FWO fellowship he is currently involved in the design and evaluation of leptin and leptin receptor antagonists in vitro and in mouse models for certain autoimmune diseases.

    , Frank Peelman

    After graduating as a biologist in 1993, Frank Peelman obtained his PhD in 1999 on the structure-function relationships of lecithin:cholesterol acyltransferase at the Biochemistry department of Ghent University. In 2002, he joined the Cytokine Receptor Lab to investigate the properties of leptin binding to its receptor. In 2006 he became a full professor at Ghent University, and his current research focuses on the molecular dissection of protein-protein interactions, with focus on cytokines and Toll-like receptor signaling.

    and Jan Tavernier

    Jan Tavernier founded the Cytokine Receptor Laboratory (CRL) in 1996. He obtained his PhD in 1984 in the early days of recombinant DNA on the cloning of several interferon and interleukin genes. In the same year he moved to industry, first Biogen, later Roche, where he continued cytokine research and demonstrated for the first time the shared use of cytokine receptor subunits. He became full professor at Ghent University in 1996 and currently heads the CRL as part of the VIB Department of Medical Protein Research.

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From the journal Biological Chemistry


The adipocyte-derived hormone/cytokine leptin acts as a metabolic switch, connecting the body’s nutritional status to high energy consuming processes such as reproduction and immune responses. Inappropriate leptin responses can promote autoimmune diseases and tumorigenesis. In this review we discuss the current strategies to modulate leptin signaling and the possibilities for their use in research and therapy.

Corresponding author: Jan Tavernier, Flanders Institute for Biotechnology (VIB), Department of Medical Protein Research, Faculty of Medicine and Health Sciences, Ghent University, A. Baertsoenkaai 3, B-9000 Ghent, Belgium, e-mail:

About the authors

Lennart Zabeau

After finishing his biotechnology studies at Ghent University in 1998, Lennart Zabeau joined the CRL to study the mechanisms underlying cytokine receptor clustering and activation. He started to work on the interleukin-5 receptor, but later on the leptin receptor became his main research interest. He obtained a PhD in 2004. With an FWO fellowship he is currently involved in the design and evaluation of leptin and leptin receptor antagonists in vitro and in mouse models for certain autoimmune diseases.

Frank Peelman

After graduating as a biologist in 1993, Frank Peelman obtained his PhD in 1999 on the structure-function relationships of lecithin:cholesterol acyltransferase at the Biochemistry department of Ghent University. In 2002, he joined the Cytokine Receptor Lab to investigate the properties of leptin binding to its receptor. In 2006 he became a full professor at Ghent University, and his current research focuses on the molecular dissection of protein-protein interactions, with focus on cytokines and Toll-like receptor signaling.

Jan Tavernier

Jan Tavernier founded the Cytokine Receptor Laboratory (CRL) in 1996. He obtained his PhD in 1984 in the early days of recombinant DNA on the cloning of several interferon and interleukin genes. In the same year he moved to industry, first Biogen, later Roche, where he continued cytokine research and demonstrated for the first time the shared use of cytokine receptor subunits. He became full professor at Ghent University in 1996 and currently heads the CRL as part of the VIB Department of Medical Protein Research.


We apologize to our colleagues that space limitations did not allow us to cite all the relevant literature. This work was funded by IU, A.P. (P6/36) and Research Foundation-Flanders (FWO-V, Project G.0521.12N).


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Received: 2013-11-21
Accepted: 2014-2-5
Published Online: 2014-2-11
Published in Print: 2014-5-1

©2014 by Walter de Gruyter Berlin/Boston

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