Phospholipids as dynamic participants in biological processes

Open AccessPublished:December 15, 1984DOI:
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      Phospholipids are described as active biological molecules. Three distinctly different roles are examined. The first centers on protein-lipid interactions and the lipid requirement expressed by certain enzymes. This category is illustrated by two soluble proteins of the blood coagulation scheme, Factor IXa and Factor Xa, and by an integral membrane protein, the (Ca2+ + Mg2+)-ATPase of human erythrocytes. The next two examples depict phospholipids as active participants in membrane-mediated events. In the first of these, termed the phosphoinositide effect, a phospholipid becomes a substrate during membrane signaling, and its products presumably act as second messengers. In the second example, a phospholipid is a signal that, among other reactions, induces the phosphoinositide effect. Here, the phospholipid (platelet activating factor) serves as a lipid chemical mediator. These examples show that phospholipids behave not only as structural molecules but also as dynamic, functionally important components of cells.


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