PerspectiveCell Biology

Lipid Signaling and Homeostasis: PA- Is Better than PA-H, But What About Those PIPs?

Sci. Signal.  07 Dec 2010:
Vol. 3, Issue 151, pp. pe46
DOI: 10.1126/scisignal.3151pe46

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Although cellular membranes are composed of hundreds of distinct lipid species, the lipid composition is maintained within a narrow range. The regulatory circuit responsible for this homeostasis in yeast depends on a membrane-bound transcriptional repressor that translocates to the nucleus in response to the abundance of its lipid ligand on the membrane. Feedback control in this system is provided because the lipid ligand is also an end product of the activity of the transcription factor. This basic design is also evident in higher eukaryotes such as Drosophila and mammals, but with important differences in the lipid being sensed, the composition of the sensors, and the fine-tuning of the response. New work indicates that regulation of intracellular pH levels in yeast by glucose availability may fine-tune the binding of the repressor to its lipid ligand, providing a mechanism that connects phospholipid metabolism to nutrient sensing. The importance of pH effects in this pathway raises the possibility that additional lipid-signaling pathways may be regulated by the protonation state of the lipid or its effector.

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