Non-vesicular lipid transport by lipid-transfer proteins and beyond

Nat Rev Mol Cell Biol. 2010 Oct;11(10):739-50. doi: 10.1038/nrm2971. Epub 2010 Sep 8.


The movement of lipids within and between intracellular membranes is mediated by different lipid transport mechanisms and is crucial for maintaining the identities of different cellular organelles. Non-vesicular lipid transport has a crucial role in intracellular lipid trafficking and distribution, but its underlying mechanisms remain unclear. Lipid-transfer proteins (LTPs), which regulate diverse lipid-mediated cellular processes and accelerate vectorial transport of lipid monomers between membranes in vitro, could potentially mediate non-vesicular intracellular lipid trafficking. Understanding the mechanisms by which lipids are transported and distributed between cellular membranes, and elucidating the role of LTPs in intracellular lipid transport and homeostasis, are currently subjects of intensive study.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Biological Transport
  • Carrier Proteins / metabolism*
  • Cholesterol / metabolism
  • Diffusion
  • Diglycerides / metabolism
  • Golgi Apparatus / metabolism
  • Homeostasis
  • Intracellular Membranes / metabolism
  • Lipid Bilayers / metabolism
  • Lipids / physiology*


  • Carrier Proteins
  • Diglycerides
  • Lipid Bilayers
  • Lipids
  • lipid transfer protein
  • Cholesterol