Phospholipid Subcellular Localization and Dynamics [Membrane Biology]

March 27th, 2018 by Yanbo Yang, Minhyoung Lee, Gregory D. Fairn

Membrane biology seeks to understand how lipids and proteins within bilayers assemble into large structures such as organelles and the plasma membrane. Historically, lipids were thought to merely provide structural support for bilayer formation and membrane protein function. Research has now revealed that phospholipid metabolism regulates nearly all cellular processes. Sophisticated techniques helped identify >10,000 lipid species, suggesting that lipids support many biological processes. Here, we highlight the synthesis of the most abundant glycerophospholipids classes and their distribution in organelles. We review vesicular and nonvesicular transport pathways shuttling lipids between organelles and discuss lipid regulators of membrane trafficking and second messengers in eukaryotic cells.