Phosphoinositides are minor constituents of eukaryotic membranes but participate in a wide range of cellular processes. The most abundant and best characterized phosphoinositide species are phosphatidylinositol 4,5-bisphosphate (PI(4,5)P₂) and its main precursor, phosphatidylinositol 4-phosphate (PI4P). PI4P and PI(4,5)P₂ regulate various structural and developmental functions but are also centrally involved in a plethora of signal transduction pathways in all eukaryotic models. They are not only precursors of second messengers but also directly interact with many protein effectors, thus regulating their localisation and/or activity. Furthermore, the discovery of independent PI(4,5)P₂ signalling functions in the nucleus of mammalian cells have open a new perspective in the field. Striking similarities between mammalian, yeast and higher plant phosphoinositide signalling are noticeable, revealing early appearance and evolutionary conservation of this intracellular language. However, major differences have also been highlighted over the years, suggesting that organisms may have evolved different PI4P and PI(4,5)P₂ functions over the course of eukaryotic diversification. Comparative studies of the different eukaryotic models is thus crucial for a comprehensive view of this fascinating signalling system. The present review aims to emphasize convergences and divergences between eukaryotic kingdoms in the mechanisms underlying PI4P and PI(4,5)P₂ roles in signal transduction, in response to extracellular stimuli.
Copyright © 2012 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.