- Dysregulation of lipid metabolism plays a major role in the etiology and sequelae of inflammatory disorders, cardiometabolic and neurological diseases, and several forms of cancer. Recent advances in lipidomic methodology allow comprehensive lipidomic profiling of clinically relevant biological samples, enabling researchers to associate lipid species and metabolic pathways with disease onset and progression. The resulting data serve not only to advance our fundamental knowledge of the underlying disease process but also to develop risk assessment models to assist in the diagnosis and management of disease.
- Lipid rafts regulate the initiation of cellular metabolic and signaling pathways by organizing the pathway components in ordered microdomains on the cell surface. Cellular responses regulated by lipid rafts range from physiological to pathological, and the success of a therapeutic approach targeting “pathological” lipid rafts depends on the ability of a remedial agent to recognize them and disrupt pathological lipid rafts without affecting normal raft-dependent cellular functions. In this article, concluding the Thematic Review Series on Biology of Lipid Rafts, we review current experimental therapies targeting pathological lipid rafts, including examples of inflammarafts and clusters of apoptotic signaling molecule-enriched rafts.
- Phosphoinositides (PIs) are recognized as major signaling molecules in many different functions of eukaryotic cells. PIs can be dephosphorylated by multiple phosphatase activities at the 5-, 4-, and 3- positions. Human PI 5-phosphatases belong to a family of 10 members. Except for inositol polyphosphate 5-phosphatase A, they all catalyze the dephosphorylation of PI(4,5)P2 and/or PI(3,4,5)P3 at the 5- position. PI 5-phosphatases thus directly control the levels of PI(3,4,5)P3 and participate in the fine-tuning regulatory mechanisms of PI(3,4)P2 and PI(4,5)P2.
- Extracellular vesicles (EVs), such as exosomes and microvesicles, are small membrane-bound vesicles released by cells under various conditions. In a multitude of physiological and pathological conditions, EVs contribute to intercellular communication by facilitating exchange of material between cells. Rapidly growing interest is aimed at better understanding EV function and their use as biomarkers. The vast EV cargo includes cytokines, growth factors, organelles, nucleic acids (messenger and micro RNA), and transcription factors.
- Cancer cells must adapt their metabolism in order to meet the energy requirements for cell proliferation, survival in nutrient-deprived environments, and dissemination. In particular, FA metabolism is emerging as a critical process for tumors. FA metabolism can be modulated through intrinsic changes in gene expression or signaling between tumor cells and also in response to signals from the surrounding microenvironment. Among these signals, extracellular vesicles (EVs) could play an important role in FA metabolism remodeling.
- Signaling through the phosphoinositide 3-kinase pathways mediates the actions of a plethora of hormones, growth factors, cytokines, and neurotransmitters upon their target cells following receptor occupation. Overactivation of these pathways has been implicated in a number of pathologies, in particular a range of malignancies. The tight regulation of signaling pathways necessitates the involvement of both stimulatory and terminating enzymes; inappropriate activation of a pathway can thus result from activation or inhibition of the two signaling arms.
- Individual members of the mammalian phospholipase D (PLD) superfamily undertake roles that extend from generating the second messenger signaling lipid, phosphatidic acid, through hydrolysis of the membrane phospholipid, phosphatidylcholine, to functioning as an endonuclease to generate small RNAs and facilitating membrane vesicle trafficking through seemingly nonenzymatic mechanisms. With recent advances in genome-wide association studies, RNA interference screens, next-generation sequencing approaches, and phenotypic analyses of knockout mice, roles for PLD family members are being uncovered in autoimmune, infectious neurodegenerative, and cardiovascular disease, as well as in cancer.