Transcriptional homeostatic control of membrane lipid composition

Biochem Biophys Res Commun. 2000 Jun 24;273(1):1-4. doi: 10.1006/bbrc.2000.2826.


Plasma membranes have a structural property, commonly referred to as membrane fluidity, that is compositionally regulated. The two main features of plasma membrane lipid composition that determine membrane fluidity are the ratio of cholesterol to phospholipids and the ratio of saturated to unsaturated fatty acids that are incorporated into the phospholipids. These ratios are determined, at least in part, by regulation of membrane lipid biosynthesis-particularly that of cholesterol and oleate. It now appears that cholesterol and oleate biosynthesis are feedback regulated by a common transcriptional mechanism which is governed by the maturation of the SREBP transcription factors. In this article, we briefly review our current understanding of transcriptional regulation of plasma membrane lipid biosynthesis by sterols and oleate. We also discuss studies related to the mechanism by which the physical state of membrane lipids signals the transcriptional regulatory machinery to control the rates of synthesis of these structural components of the lipid bilayer.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • CCAAT-Enhancer-Binding Proteins*
  • Cell Membrane / chemistry*
  • Cell Membrane / drug effects
  • Cell Membrane / genetics
  • Cell Membrane / metabolism*
  • DNA-Binding Proteins / metabolism
  • Fatty Acids / biosynthesis
  • Fatty Acids / chemistry
  • Fatty Acids / pharmacology
  • Gene Expression Regulation / drug effects
  • Gene Expression Regulation / genetics*
  • Homeostasis* / drug effects
  • Membrane Lipids / biosynthesis*
  • Membrane Lipids / chemistry
  • Membrane Lipids / genetics
  • Membrane Lipids / pharmacology
  • Nuclear Proteins / metabolism
  • Signal Transduction / drug effects
  • Sterol Regulatory Element Binding Protein 1
  • Sterols / biosynthesis
  • Sterols / chemistry
  • Sterols / pharmacology
  • Transcription Factors*
  • Transcription, Genetic / drug effects
  • Transcription, Genetic / genetics*


  • CCAAT-Enhancer-Binding Proteins
  • DNA-Binding Proteins
  • Fatty Acids
  • Membrane Lipids
  • Nuclear Proteins
  • Sterol Regulatory Element Binding Protein 1
  • Sterols
  • Transcription Factors