Membrane lipids: where they are and how they behave

Nat Rev Mol Cell Biol. 2008 Feb;9(2):112-24. doi: 10.1038/nrm2330.


Throughout the biological world, a 30 A hydrophobic film typically delimits the environments that serve as the margin between life and death for individual cells. Biochemical and biophysical findings have provided a detailed model of the composition and structure of membranes, which includes levels of dynamic organization both across the lipid bilayer (lipid asymmetry) and in the lateral dimension (lipid domains) of membranes. How do cells apply anabolic and catabolic enzymes, translocases and transporters, plus the intrinsic physical phase behaviour of lipids and their interactions with membrane proteins, to create the unique compositions and multiple functionalities of their individual membranes?

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Biochemistry / methods
  • Biophysics / methods
  • Cell Membrane / metabolism*
  • Cytosol / metabolism
  • Golgi Apparatus / metabolism
  • Humans
  • Lipid Bilayers / chemistry*
  • Lipids / chemistry
  • Models, Biological
  • Phosphatidylcholines / chemistry
  • Protein Transport


  • Lipid Bilayers
  • Lipids
  • Phosphatidylcholines