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Curr Opin Cell Biol. 2015 Apr;33:82-87. doi: 10.1016/ Epub 2015 Jan 6.

Membrane contact sites, gateways for lipid homeostasis.

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Laboratory of Cell and Molecular Biology, National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases, National Institutes of Health, Bethesda, MD 20892, USA.
Contributed equally


Maintaining the proper lipid composition of cellular membranes is critical for numerous cellular processes but mechanisms of membrane lipid homeostasis are not well understood. There is growing evidence that membrane contact sites (MCSs), regions where two organelles come in close proximity to one another, play major roles in the regulation of intracellular lipid composition and distribution. MCSs are thought to mediate the exchange of lipids and signals between organelles. In this review, we discuss how lipid exchange occurs at MCSs and evidence for roles of MCSs in regulating lipid synthesis and degradation. We also discuss how networks of organelles connected by MCSs may modulate cellular lipid homeostasis and help determine organelle lipid composition.

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