The Dynamic State of Membrane Lipids: The Significance of Lipid Exchange and Transfer Reactions to Biomembrane Composition, Structure, Function, and Cellular Lipid Metabolism

  • Frank P. Bell
Part of the Biomembranes book series (B, volume 12)


Biological membranes are highly organized structures that permit cells to interact with their environment in a selective fashion that is consistent with the needs and function of the particular cell. The diversity of lipid compositions that characterize various types of biological membranes (Cohen and Derksen, 1969; Sanslone et al., 1972; Zambrono et al., 1975; Comte et al., 1976) implies that the lipid composition is an important determinant of function in a particular membrane. In fact, cellular processes such as membrane fusion (Papahadjopoulos et al., 1973; Poste and Allison, 1973; Cullis and de Kruijff, 1979), lateral diffusion of membrane proteins (Edidin, 1974; Barrantes, 1979), and the regulation of membrane-bound enzymes (Farías et al., 1975; McMurchie and Raison, 1979; Kovatchev et al., 1981; Miyahara et al., 1981b) are intimately linked to the physical properties (e.g., fluidity) of the membrane which are largely determined by lipid composition at physiologic temperatures. One of the fascinating features of biological membranes is that their basic structure, function, and composition under a given set of conditions are maintained while the lipid molecules that constitute the membrane are in a dynamic state. The exchange and transfer of lipid molecules between membranes, between membranes and lipoproteins, and the movement of lipid molecules between the two halves of the biological bilayer membrane (“flip-flop”) attest to the dynamic state of membrane lipids (Bell, 1978).


Cholesteryl Ester Membrane Fluidity Cholesteryl Ester Transfer Protein Lipid Molecule Exchange Protein 
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Copyright information

© Plenum Press, New York 1984

Authors and Affiliations

  • Frank P. Bell
    • 1
  1. 1.Atherosclerosis-Thrombosis ResearchThe Upjohn CompanyKalamazooUSA

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