Self-regulation of the lipid content of membranes by non-bilayer lipids: a hypothesis

Trends Plant Sci. 2000 Nov;5(11):489-94. doi: 10.1016/s1360-1385(00)01767-2.


Many biological membranes contain lipids that do not form a lamellar phase but the roles of these lipids are not well understood. An artificial membrane assembled from the main non-bilayer lipid and the major integral protein of pea thylakoids revealed that the protein spatially inhibits the formation of non-bilayer structures in the lamellae. Without this inhibition, excess lipids are secreted, creating lipid reservoirs for metabolism and/or later uptake. This determines the protein:lipid ratio in the membrane and hence the balance between structural flexibility and the stability of the key constituents that participate in cooperative interactions.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Lipid Bilayers
  • Membrane Lipids / physiology*
  • Plant Proteins / metabolism
  • Plants / metabolism


  • Lipid Bilayers
  • Membrane Lipids
  • Plant Proteins