Regulation of cholesterol and fatty acid synthesis.
ABSTRACT In mammals, intracellular levels of cholesterol and fatty acids are controlled through a feedback regulatory system mediated by a family of transcription factors called sterol regulatory element-binding proteins (SREBPs). SREBPs are synthesized as inactive precursors bound to membranes of the endoplasmic reticulum. When cells are deprived of cholesterol and fatty acids, NH(2)-terminal fragments of SREBPs become proteolytically released from membranes and migrate to the nucleus to activate transcription of genes required for lipid synthesis and uptake. Conversely, lipid repletion inhibits proteolytic processing of SREBPs and thereby suppresses lipid accumulation. We review here studies in cultured cells that reveal the mechanism for regulation of SREBP proteolytic activation, and those in animal models in which SREBP proteolysis has been either activated or inhibited to show the essential role of SREBPs in regulating hepatic lipid homeostasis.
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ABSTRACT: Sterols and sphingolipids are considered mainly eukaryotic lipids even though both are present in some prokaryotes, with sphingolipids being more widespread than sterols. Both sterols and sphingolipids differ in their structural features in vertebrates, plants, and fungi. Interestingly, some invertebrates cannot synthesize sterols de novo and seem to have a reduced dependence on sterols. Sphingolipids and sterols are found in the plasma membrane, but we do not have a clear picture of their precise intracellular localization. Advances in lipidomics and subcellular fractionation should help to improve this situation. Genetic approaches have provided insights into the diversity of sterol and sphingolipid functions in eukaryotes providing evidence that these two lipid classes function together. Intermediates in sphingolipid biosynthesis and degradation are involved in signaling pathways, whereas sterol structures are converted to hormones. Both lipids have been implicated in regulating membrane trafficking.Cold Spring Harbor perspectives in biology 03/2011; 3(5). DOI:10.1101/cshperspect.a004762 · 8.23 Impact Factor
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ABSTRACT: Eukaryotic cells can synthesize thousands of different lipid molecules that are incorporated into their membranes. This involves the activity of hundreds of enzymes with the task of creating lipid diversity. In addition, there are several, typically redundant, mechanisms to transport lipids from their site of synthesis to other cellular membranes. Biosynthetic lipid transport helps to ensure that each cellular compartment will have its characteristic lipid composition that supports the functions of the associated proteins. In this article, we provide an overview of the biosynthesis of the major lipid constituents of cell membranes, that is, glycerophospholipids, sphingolipids, and sterols, and discuss the mechanisms by which these newly synthesized lipids are delivered to their target membranes.Cold Spring Harbor perspectives in biology 04/2011; 3(8):a004713. DOI:10.1101/cshperspect.a004713 · 8.23 Impact Factor
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ABSTRACT: Cell membranes are composed of a lipid bilayer, containing proteins that span the bilayer and/or interact with the lipids on either side of the two leaflets. Although recent advances in lipid analytics show that membranes in eukaryotic cells contain hundreds of different lipid species, the function of this lipid diversity remains enigmatic. The basic structure of cell membranes is the lipid bilayer, composed of two apposing leaflets, forming a two-dimensional liquid with fascinating properties designed to perform the functions cells require. To coordinate these functions, the bilayer has evolved the propensity to segregate its constituents laterally. This capability is based on dynamic liquid-liquid immiscibility and underlies the raft concept of membrane subcompartmentalization. This principle combines the potential for sphingolipid-cholesterol self-assembly with protein specificity to focus and regulate membrane bioactivity. Here we will review the emerging principles of membrane architecture with special emphasis on lipid organization and domain formation.Cold Spring Harbor perspectives in biology 05/2011; 3(10):a004697. DOI:10.1101/cshperspect.a004697 · 8.23 Impact Factor