Understanding the Diversity of Membrane Lipid Composition

The lipid bilayer provides a functional barrier between subcellular compartments and between the cell and its environment. Within those cellular membranes, the lipids display an enormous degree of structural diversity, ranging from subtle to major differences.
The review begins with an introduction to lipid diversity and covers the many factors involved in the generation of such a diversity. The present knowledge about the role played by the membrane lipids in health and disease is still limited. Nevertheless, some conclusions can be drawn throughout the presentation of a limited number of selected examples. A final section covers the sensing of lipid composition to maintain homeostasis, along with its implication in the coordination of cellular status and biological processes.

This article offers to glycoscientists an overview of the present knowledge of the structure, dynamics, and function of lipids. Within an interdisciplinary vision, it is anticipated that the knowledge gathered about the glycolipids, which comprise most of the natural terminal glyco-epitopes, will help to decipher some of the novel and unknown functions of lipids and their interactions. Alternatively, a deeper understanding of the role of the lipid moiety of glycolipids may extend the efficacy of the modifications that can be made for usage of such molecules in biological and biophysical assays and therapeutic regimen.
The reading of this review can be nicely completed throughout the information available on the following sites :
The LipidWeb : http://www.lipidhome.co.uk
The SwissLipids site : http://www.swisslipids.org/#/