Looking Beyond Structure: Membrane Phospholipids of Skeletal Muscle Mitochondria

Trends Endocrinol Metab. 2016 Aug;27(8):553-562. doi: 10.1016/j.tem.2016.05.007. Epub 2016 Jun 28.


Skeletal muscle mitochondria are highly dynamic and are capable of tremendous expansion to meet cellular energetic demands. Such proliferation in mitochondrial mass requires a synchronized supply of enzymes and structural phospholipids. While transcriptional regulation of mitochondrial enzymes has been extensively studied, there is limited information on how mitochondrial membrane lipids are generated in skeletal muscle. Herein we describe how each class of phospholipids that constitute mitochondrial membranes are synthesized and/or imported, and summarize genetic evidence indicating that membrane phospholipid composition represents a significant modulator of skeletal muscle mitochondrial respiratory function. We also discuss how skeletal muscle mitochondrial phospholipids may mediate the effect of diet and exercise on oxidative metabolism.

Keywords: aerobic capacity.; membrane phospholipids; mitochondria; phospholipid biosynthesis; skeletal muscle.

Publication types

  • Review
  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Humans
  • Membrane Lipids / metabolism
  • Mitochondria, Muscle / metabolism*
  • Mitochondrial Membranes / metabolism
  • Muscle, Skeletal / metabolism*
  • Phospholipids / metabolism*


  • Membrane Lipids
  • Phospholipids