Ecological lipidology

Elife. 2022 Sep 7;11:e79288. doi: 10.7554/eLife.79288.


Dietary lipids (DLs), particularly sterols and fatty acids, are precursors for endogenous lipids that, unusually for macronutrients, shape cellular and organismal function long after ingestion. These functions - cell membrane structure, intracellular signalling, and hormonal activity - vary with the identity of DLs, and scale up to influence health, survival, and reproductive fitness, thereby affecting evolutionary change. Our Ecological Lipidology approach integrates biochemical mechanisms and molecular cell biology into evolution and nutritional ecology. It exposes our need to understand environmental impacts on lipidomes, the lipid specificity of cell functions, and predicts the evolution of lipid-based diet choices. Broad interdisciplinary implications of Ecological Lipidology include food web alterations, species responses to environmental change, as well as sex differences and lifestyle impacts on human nutrition, and opportunities for DL-based therapies.

Keywords: cell biology; diet choice; ecology; fatty acids; fitness; food web; membrane; sterols.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Diet*
  • Dietary Fats*
  • Fatty Acids
  • Female
  • Food Chain
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Signal Transduction


  • Dietary Fats
  • Fatty Acids