Chapter

Sphingolipids as Signaling and Regulatory Molecules

Volume 688 of the series Advances in Experimental Medicine and Biology pp 165-184

Gangliosides as Regulators of Cell Membrane Organization and Functions

  • Sandro SonninoAffiliated withCenter of Excellence on Neurodegenerative Diseases Departments of Medical Chemistry, Biochemistry and Biotechnology University of Milan
  • , Alessandro PrinettiAffiliated withCenter of Excellence on Neurodegenerative Diseases Departments of Medical Chemistry, Biochemistry and Biotechnology University of Milan Email author 

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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.