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Nat Chem Biol. 2010 Jul;6(7):507-13. doi: 10.1038/nchembio.390.

Translation of the phosphoinositide code by PI effectors.

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Department of Pharmacology, University of Colorado School of Medicine, Aurora, Colorado, USA.


Phosphoinositide (PI) lipids are essential components of eukaryotic cell membranes. They are produced by mono-, bis- and trisphosphorylation of the inositol headgroup of phosphatidylinositol (PtdIns) and are concentrated in separate pools of cytosolic membranes. PIs serve as markers of the cell compartments and form unique docking sites for protein effectors. Collectively, seven known PIs, the protein effectors that bind them and enzymes that generate or modify PIs compose a remarkably complex protein-lipid signaling network. A number of cytosolic proteins contain one or several effector modules capable of recognizing individual PIs and recruiting the host proteins to distinct intracellular compartment. The recently determined atomic-resolution structures and membrane-targeting mechanisms of a dozen PI effectors have provided insights into the molecular basis for regulation of endocytic membrane trafficking and signaling. In this review, I highlight the structural aspects of the deciphering of the 'PI code' by the most common PI-recognizing effectors and discuss the mechanistic details of their membrane anchoring.

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