The physical influence of inositides—a disproportionate effect?
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After the initial observation that lipids form a considerable part of biological membranes, the details of the physical role of lipids in biological systems have emerged gradually. There have been few ‘Eureka’ moments in which a class or individual lipid has appeared as a game-changing physical player. However, evidence collected in the last five years suggests that that notion may be about to change. In chemical biology studies, inositides are increasingly showing themselves to be lipids that have a physical influence on membrane systems that is as strong as their biological (signalling) one. Additionally, recent evidence has shown that the concentration of at least one inositide changes during important stages of the cell cycle, and not in a manner consistent with its traditional signalling roles. The balance between these data is explored and a forward-looking view is proposed.
KeywordsInositides Lipid phase behaviour Lipid biophysics