The Phosphoinositides

  • G. D’Angelo
  • M. Vicinanza
  • A. Di Campli
  • M. A. De Matteis
Reference work entry


Phosphatidylinositol (PtdIns) is a membrane phospholipid that comprises the polar myo-inositol hexahydroxycyclohexane headgroup attached via a phosphoester bond to sn-1,2-diacylgycerol 3-phosphate. The phosphoinositides are derivatives of PtdIns in which one or more of the −OH groups on the inositol ring have undergone esterification with a phosphate group. In many cell lines and tissues, the phosphoinositides represent up to 15% of the total cellular phospholipids, and they show remarkable differences in concentrations among their diverse species (ranging from around 10% of total phospholipids for PtdIns, to trace amounts of PtdIns(3,4,5)P 3). In the central nervous system, the phosphoinositides account for less than 4% of the total phospholipids (less than 1% dry weight in gray matter). Nevertheless, the phosphoinositides have emerged as key regulators of a plethora of biological functions, including synaptic transmission. The importance of this class of lipids is underlined by the finding that genetic impairments in phosphoinositide metabolism produce serious health disorders that often involve the nervous system.


Phosphatidic Acid Golgi Complex Inositol Phosphate Endocytic Compartment Inositol Phospholipid 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.



We thank C. P. Berrie for editorial assistance; and E. Fontana for artwork. The authors acknowledge the support of Telethon and AIRC.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC 2009

Authors and Affiliations

  • G. D’Angelo
  • M. Vicinanza
  • A. Di Campli
  • M. A. De Matteis

There are no affiliations available

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