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FASEB J. 1991 Oct;5(13):2761-9.

Dietary fat: exogenous determination of membrane structure and cell function.

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  • 1Nutrition and Metabolism Research Group, University of Alberta, Edmonton, Canada.


Evidence indicates that principal features of the membrane involve structural organization of lipids in the form of a bilayer with functional proteins either bound to the bilayer surface or inserted into the bilayer and interacting within specific domains in the lipid milieux. In homeotherms, intrinsic and extrinsic factors apparently form the basis for determination of membrane lipid composition and thus membrane physicochemical properties. Moreover, many intrinsic metabolic controls, such as fatty acid desaturation and phospholipid biosynthesis, may be attenuated by change in the nature of the extrinsic or dietary influence. This review will focus on the role of dietary fat as a determinant of subcellular structural constituents to illustrate that feeding nutritionally adequate diets differing in fatty acid composition can induce physiological transitions in membrane function involving the activity of enzymes responsible for synthesis of membrane constituents, hormone-activated functions and expression of activity in the cell nucleus.

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