Phospholipids in Cellular Survival and Growth
Biological membranes (plasma membrane, nuclear envelope, endoplasmic reticulum, etc.) are composed primarily of phospholipids and proteins. Phospholipids are structural components; their physicochemical properties allow them to aggregate in aqueous environments to form lamellar bilayers, that are characteristic of biological membranes. This ability of phospholipids to spontaneously form noncovalently bound aggregates that can act as diffusion barriers (membranes) depends on the chemical composition of a given phospholipid mixture, and other biologically important membrane properties, like surface potential or microviscosity, are affected by this composition. It thus seems obvious that changes in membrane composition of mammalian cells ought to affect their ability to grow and even survive. However, the problem has not been studied much and we have no understanding of how phospholipids might contribute to regulation of cellular growth and rate of division. This chapter reviews evidence showing that various phospholipids are essential to cellular survival and growth. The special role of phosphatidylcholine in survival of cholinergic neurons, and changes in phospholipid turnover during the cell cycle are also briefly discussed.
KeywordsCholinergic Neuron Cellular Survival Human Neuroblastoma Cell Line Striatal Slice Choline Kinase
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