Metabolism and functions of phosphatidylserine

Prog Lipid Res. 2005 Jul;44(4):207-34. doi: 10.1016/j.plipres.2005.05.001.


Phosphatidylserine (PS) is a quantitatively minor membrane phospholipid that is synthesized by prokaryotic and eukaryotic cells. In this review we focus on genes and enzymes that are involved in PS biosynthesis in bacteria, yeast, plants and mammalian cells and discuss the available information on the regulation of PS biosynthesis in these organisms. The enzymes that synthesize PS are restricted to endoplasmic reticulum membranes in yeast and mammalian cells, yet PS is widely distributed throughout other organelle membranes. Thus, mechanisms of inter-organelle movement of PS, particularly the transport of PS from its site of synthesis to the site of PS decarboxylation in mitochondria, are considered. PS is normally asymmetrically distributed across the membrane bilayer, thus the mechanisms of transbilayer translocation of PS, particularly across the plasma membrane, are also discussed. The exposure of PS on the outside surface of cells is widely believed to play a key role in the removal of apoptotic cells and in initiation of the blood clotting cascade. PS is also the precursor of phosphatidylethanolamine that is made by PS decarboxylase in bacteria, yeast and mammalian cells. Furthermore, PS is required as a cofactor for several important enzymes, such as protein kinase C and Raf-1 kinase, that are involved in signaling pathways.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Apoptosis
  • Biological Transport
  • Blood Coagulation / physiology
  • Eukaryotic Cells / metabolism*
  • Intracellular Membranes / metabolism
  • Mitochondria / metabolism*
  • Phosphatidylethanolamines / metabolism
  • Phosphatidylserines / biosynthesis
  • Phosphatidylserines / metabolism*
  • Prokaryotic Cells / metabolism*


  • Phosphatidylethanolamines
  • Phosphatidylserines
  • phosphatidylethanolamine