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Plant Signal Behav. 2017 Feb;12(2):e1282022. doi: 10.1080/15592324.2017.1282022.

Anionic lipids and the maintenance of membrane electrostatics in eukaryotes.

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a Laboratoire Reproduction et Développement des Plantes , Univ Lyon, ENS de Lyon, Université Claude Bernard Lyon 1, CNRS, INRA , Lyon , France.


A wide range of signaling processes occurs at the cell surface through the reversible association of proteins from the cytosol to the plasma membrane. Some low abundant lipids are enriched at the membrane of specific compartments and thereby contribute to the identity of cell organelles by acting as biochemical landmarks. Lipids also influence membrane biophysical properties, which emerge as an important feature in specifying cellular territories. Such parameters are crucial for signal transduction and include lipid packing, membrane curvature and electrostatics. In particular, membrane electrostatics specifies the identity of the plasma membrane inner leaflet. Membrane surface charges are carried by anionic phospholipids, however the exact nature of the lipid(s) that powers the plasma membrane electrostatic field varies among eukaryotes and has been hotly debated during the last decade. Herein, we discuss the role of anionic lipids in setting up plasma membrane electrostatics and we compare similarities and differences that were found in different eukaryotic cells.


Anionic lipid; arabidopsis; biosensor; endocytosis; membrane surface charge; membrane territory; phosphatidylserine; phosphoinositide; phospholipid; plasma membrane identity

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