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Traffic. 2003 Apr;4(4):214-21.

Phospholipase A2 (PLA2) enzymes in membrane trafficking: mediators of membrane shape and function.

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Department of Molecular Biology and Genetics, Cornell University, Ithaca, NY 14853, USA.


Since the mid-1990s, there have been tremendous advances in our understanding of the roles that lipid-modifying enzymes play in various intracellular membrane trafficking events. Phospholipases represent the largest group of lipid-modifying enzymes and accordingly display a wide range of functions. The largest class of phospholipases are the phospholipase A(2) (PLA2) enzymes, and these have been most extensively studied for their roles in the generation lipid signaling molecules, e.g. arachidonic acid. In recent years, however, cytoplasmic PLA2 enzymes have also become increasingly associated with various intracellular trafficking events, such as the formation of membrane tubules from the Golgi complex and endosomes, and membrane fusion events in the secretory and endocytic pathways. Moreover, the ability of cytoplasmic PLA2 enzymes to directly affect the structure and function of membranes by altering membrane curvature suggests novel functional roles for these enzymes. This review will focus on the role of cytoplasmic PLA2 enzymes in intracellular membrane trafficking and the mechanisms by which they influence membrane structure and function.

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