- Extracellular vesicles released by viable cells (exosomes and microvesicles) have emerged as important organelles supporting cell-cell communication. Because of their potential therapeutic significance, important efforts are being made toward characterizing the contents of these vesicles and the mechanisms that govern their biogenesis. It has been recently demonstrated that the lipid modifying enzyme, phospholipase D (PLD)2, is involved in exosome production and acts downstream of the small GTPase, ARF6.
- This article provides a historical account of the discovery, chemistry, and biochemistry of two ubiquitous phosphoglycerolipids, phosphatidylserine (PS) and phosphatidylethanolamine (PE), including the ether lipids. In addition, the article describes the biosynthetic pathways for these phospholipids and how these pathways were elucidated. Several unique functions of PS and PE in mammalian cells in addition to their ability to define physical properties of membranes are discussed. For example, the translocation of PS from the inner to the outer leaflet of the plasma membrane of cells occurs during apoptosis and during some other specific physiological processes, and this translocation is responsible for profound life-or-death events.
- Glycosylphosphatidylinositol-anchored proteins (GPI-APs) contain a covalently linked GPI anchor located on outer cell membranes. GPI-APs are ubiquitously conserved from protozoa to vertebrates and are critical for physiological events such as development, immunity, and neurogenesis in vertebrates. Both membrane-anchored and soluble GPI-APs play a role in regulating their protein conformation and functional properties. Several pathways mediate the release of GPI-APs from the plasma membrane by vesiculation or cleavage.
- Among more than 30 members of the phospholipase A2 (PLA2) superfamily, secreted PLA2 (sPLA2) enzymes represent the largest family, being Ca2+-dependent low-molecular-weight enzymes with a His-Asp catalytic dyad. Individual sPLA2s exhibit unique tissue and cellular distributions and enzymatic properties, suggesting their distinct biological roles. Recent studies using transgenic and knockout mice for nearly a full set of sPLA2 subtypes, in combination with sophisticated lipidomics as well as biochemical and cell biological studies, have revealed distinct contributions of individual sPLA2s to various pathophysiological events, including production of pro- and anti-inflammatory lipid mediators, regulation of membrane remodeling, degradation of foreign phospholipids in microbes or food, or modification of extracellular noncellular lipid components.