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Neuron. 2003 Oct 9;40(2):319-30.

Specific localization and timing in neuronal signal transduction mediated by protein-lipid interactions.

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Department of Molecular Pharmacology, School of Medicine, Stanford University, 318 Campus Drive, Clark Center W200, Stanford, CA 94305, USA.


A large number of signaling proteins translocate from the cytosol to the plasma membrane in response to receptor and electrical stimuli. The site of translocation to the plasma membrane and the "on" and "off" rates of the translocation process are critical for defining the specificity of the signaling response. In addition to targeting mechanisms based on protein-protein interactions, signaling proteins have evolved a large repertoire of covalent lipid modifications and lipid binding protein modules that regulate reversible membrane association. The time constants of these membrane interactions range from milliseconds to several hours. Here we discuss how diversity in lipid-based membrane anchoring and targeting motifs contributes to plasticity in neuronal signaling by providing local and regional control mechanisms as well as a means to transduce and integrate signals over a broad range of different time scales.

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