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Biochim Biophys Acta. 2004 Nov 3;1666(1-2):264-74.

Protein-lipid interactions in membrane trafficking at the Golgi complex.

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Department of Cell Biology and Oncology, Consorzio Mario Negri Sud, Via Nazionale, 66030 Santa Maria Imbaro (Chieti), Italy.


The integrated interplay between proteins and lipids drives many key cellular processes, such as signal transduction, cytoskeleton remodelling and membrane trafficking. The last of these, membrane trafficking, has the Golgi complex as its central station. Not only does this organelle orchestrates the biosynthesis, transport and intracellular distribution of many proteins and lipids, but also its own function and structure is dictated by intimate functional and physical relationships between protein-based and lipid-based machineries. These machineries are involved in the control of the fundamental events that govern membrane traffic, such as in the budding, fission and fusion of transport intermediates, in the regulation of the shape and geometry of the Golgi membranes themselves, and, finally, in the generation of "signals" that can have local actions in the secretory system, or that may affect other cellular systems. Lipid-protein interactions rely on the abilities of certain protein domains to recognize specific lipids. These interactions are mediated, in particular, through the headgroups of the phospholipids, although a few of these protein domains are able to specifically interact with the phospholipid acyl chains. Recent evidence also indicates that some proteins and/or protein domains are more sensitive to the physical environment of the membrane bilayer (such as its curvature) than to its chemical composition.

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