Biological function of the cellular lipid BMP-BMP as a key activator for cholesterol sorting and membrane digestion

Neurochem Res. 2011 Sep;36(9):1594-600. doi: 10.1007/s11064-010-0337-6. Epub 2010 Dec 7.


Bis(monoacylglycero)phosphate (BMP) is one of the most intriguing classes of lipids discovered to date. Its biosynthetic pathway is still not fully known, even though studies point to cardiolipin and PG as sources. BMP has an unusual stereoconfiguration which is responsible for its slow catabolism. It is localized exclusively in the inner membranes of late endosomes, and mostly, lysosomes. BMP is negatively charged at the acidic pH of lysosomes, and these charges are central to its role in the degradation of lipids and membranes in the lysosome. In effect, these negative charges facilitate the adhesion of the soluble positively charged hydrolases and activator proteins, thus allowing them to degrade the lipids at the interface of the inner membranes of the lysosome. In this review, we will summarize the different properties of BMP and showcase its importance in the catabolism of lipids and membranes in the lysosome.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Cholesterol / metabolism*
  • Endosomes / chemistry
  • Endosomes / metabolism
  • Humans
  • Lysophospholipids / chemistry*
  • Lysophospholipids / metabolism*
  • Lysosomes / chemistry*
  • Lysosomes / metabolism*
  • Membrane Lipids / chemistry*
  • Membrane Lipids / metabolism*
  • Molecular Structure
  • Monoglycerides / chemistry*
  • Monoglycerides / metabolism*


  • Lysophospholipids
  • Membrane Lipids
  • Monoglycerides
  • bis(monoacylglyceryl)phosphate
  • Cholesterol