Sphingolipid trafficking and protein sorting in epithelial cells

FEBS Lett. 2002 Oct 2;529(1):54-9. doi: 10.1016/s0014-5793(02)03183-6.


Sphingolipids represent a minor, but highly dynamic subclass of lipids in all eukaryotic cells. They are involved in functions that range from structural protection to signal transduction and protein sorting, and participate in lipid raft assembly. In polarized epithelial cells, which display an asymmetric apical and basolateral membrane surface, rafts have been proposed as a sorting principle for apical resident proteins, following their biosynthesis. However, raft-mediated trafficking is ubiquitous in cells. Also, sphingolipids per se, which are strongly enriched in the apical domain, are subject to sorting in polarity development. Next to the trans Golgi network, a subapical compartment called SAC or common endosome appears instrumental in regulating these sorting events.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Biological Transport
  • Cell Compartmentation
  • Cell Membrane / chemistry
  • Cell Membrane / metabolism*
  • Cell Polarity
  • Epithelial Cells / metabolism*
  • Humans
  • Membrane Lipids / chemistry
  • Membrane Lipids / metabolism
  • Protein Transport
  • Sphingolipids / chemistry*
  • Sphingolipids / metabolism*


  • Membrane Lipids
  • Sphingolipids