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J Immunol. 2011 Aug 15;187(4):1529-35. doi: 10.4049/jimmunol.1100253.

Intracellular lipid flux and membrane microdomains as organizing principles in inflammatory cell signaling.

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Laboratory of Respiratory Biology, National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences, National Institutes of Health, Research Triangle Park, NC 27709, USA.


Lipid rafts and caveolae play a pivotal role in organization of signaling by TLR4 and several other immune receptors. Beyond the simple cataloguing of signaling events compartmentalized by these membrane microdomains, recent studies have revealed the surprisingly central importance of dynamic remodeling of membrane lipid domains to immune signaling. Simple interventions upon membrane lipid, such as changes in cholesterol loading or crosslinking of raft lipids, are sufficient to induce micrometer-scale reordering of membranes and their protein cargo with consequent signal transduction. In this review, using TLR signaling in the macrophage as a central focus, we discuss emerging evidence that environmental and genetic perturbations of membrane lipid regulate protein signaling, illustrate how homeostatic flow of cholesterol and other lipids through rafts regulates the innate immune response, and highlight recent attempts to harness these insights toward therapeutic development.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]
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