Lipid compartmentalization in the endosome system

Semin Cell Dev Biol. 2014 Jul;31:48-56. doi: 10.1016/j.semcdb.2014.04.010. Epub 2014 Apr 18.


Lipids play an essential role in the structure of the endosomal membranes as well as in their dynamic rearrangement during the transport of internalized cargoes along the endocytic pathway. In this review, we discuss the function of endosomal lipids mainly in mammalian cells, focusing on two well-known components of the lipid rafts, sphingomyelin and cholesterol, as well as on three anionic phospholipids, phosphatidylserine, polyphosphoinositides and the atypical phospholipid, bis(monoacylglycero)phosphate/lysobisphosphatidic acid. We detail the structure, metabolism, distribution and role of these lipids in the endosome system as well as their importance in pathological conditions where modification of the endosomal membrane flow can lead to various diseases such as lipid-storage diseases, myopathies and neuropathies.

Keywords: Bis(monoacylglycero)phosphate/lysobisphosphatidic acid; Cholesterol; Endocytosis; Phosphatidylserine; Polyphosphoinositides; Sphingomyelin.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Endosomes / metabolism*
  • Humans
  • Membrane Lipids / metabolism*


  • Membrane Lipids