Gangliosides as Regulators of Cell Membrane Organization and Functions

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Abstract

Gangliosides, characteristic complex lipids present in the external layer of plasma membranes, deeply influence the organization of the membrane as a whole and the function of specific membrane associated proteins due to lipid-lipid and lipid-protein lateral interaction. Here we discuss the basis for the membrane-organizing potential of gangliosides, examples of ganglioside-regulated membrane protein complexes and the mechanisms for the regulation of ganglioside membrane composition.