Sterols and isoprenoids: signaling molecules derived from the cholesterol biosynthetic pathway

Annu Rev Biochem. 1999;68:157-85. doi: 10.1146/annurev.biochem.68.1.157.


Compounds derived from the isoprenoid/cholesterol biosynthetic pathway have recently been shown to have novel biological activities. These compounds include certain sterols, oxysterols, farnesol, and geranylgeraniol, as well as the diphosphate derivatives of isopentenyl, geranyl, farnesyl, geranylgeranyl, and presqualene. They regulate transcriptional and post-transcriptional events that in turn affect lipid synthesis, meiosis, apoptosis, developmental patterning, protein cleavage, and protein degradation.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Cholesterol / biosynthesis*
  • Hydroxymethylglutaryl CoA Reductases / metabolism
  • Polyisoprenyl Phosphates / metabolism*
  • Signal Transduction*
  • Sterols / metabolism*
  • Transcription, Genetic


  • Polyisoprenyl Phosphates
  • Sterols
  • Cholesterol
  • Hydroxymethylglutaryl CoA Reductases