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Annu Rev Plant Biol. 2012;63:409-29. doi: 10.1146/annurev-arplant-042110-103840. Epub 2012 Jan 30.

Phosphoinositide signaling.

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Department of Plant Biology, North Carolina State University, Raleigh, NC 27695-7649, USA.


"All things flow and changeā€¦even in the stillest matter there is unseen flux and movement." Attributed to Heraclitus (530-470 BC), from The Story of Philosophy by Will Durant. Heraclitus, a Greek philosopher, was thinking on a much larger scale than molecular signaling; however, his visionary comments are an important reminder for those studying signaling today. Even in unstimulated cells, signaling pathways are in constant metabolic flux and provide basal signals that travel throughout the organism. In addition, negatively charged phospholipids, such as the polyphosphorylated inositol phospholipids, provide a circuit board of on/off switches for attracting or repelling proteins that define the membranes of the cell. This template of charged phospholipids is sensitive to discrete changes and metabolic fluxes-e.g., in pH and cations-which contribute to the oscillating signals in the cell. The inherent complexities of a constantly fluctuating system make understanding how plants integrate and process signals challenging. In this review we discuss one aspect of lipid signaling: the inositol family of negatively charged phospholipids and their functions as molecular sensors and regulators of metabolic flux in plants.

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