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Biochim Biophys Acta. 2000 Jun 26;1486(1):145-70.

Sphingolipid transport in eukaryotic cells.

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  • 1Department of Cell Biology and Histology, Academic Medical Center, University of Amsterdam, The Netherlands. g.vanmeer@amc.uva.nl


Sphingolipids constitute a sizeable fraction of the membrane lipids in all eukaryotes and are indispensable for eukaryotic life. First of all, the involvement of sphingolipids in organizing the lateral domain structure of membranes appears essential for processes like protein sorting and membrane signaling. In addition, recognition events between complex glycosphingolipids and glycoproteins are thought to be required for tissue differentiation in higher eukaryotes and for other specific cell interactions. Finally, upon certain stimuli like stress or receptor activation, sphingolipids give rise to a variety of second messengers with effects on cellular homeostasis. All sphingolipid actions are governed by their local concentration. The intricate control of their intracellular topology by the proteins responsible for their synthesis, hydrolysis and intracellular transport is the topic of this review.

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