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Subcell Biochem. 2004;37:317-57.

Membrane lipid homeostasis.

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Biochemistry Department, Mass Spectrometry Laboratory, INSERM U 538, Faculté de Médecine Saint Antoine, Paris 75012, France.


The lipid matrix of biological membranes is composed of a complex mixture of polar lipids. It has been estimated that more than 600 distinct molecular species of lipid are constituents of biological membranes. This rather remarkable feature raises the questions of why such complexity is required when barrier properties and many protein functions can be reconstituted with relatively simple lipid systems. Secondly, the molecular species composition of morphologically distinct membranes appears to be preserved within fairly narrow limits. The biochemical mechanism(s) responsible for this homeostasis are not fully understood. This review examines the origin of membrane lipid complexity, the methods that are currently employed to measure and detect lipid molecular species and the biochemical reactions associated with the turnover of membrane lipids in resting and stimulated cells.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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