Lipid polymorphism and biomembrane function

Curr Opin Chem Biol. 1997 Dec;1(4):564-9. doi: 10.1016/s1367-5931(97)80053-1.


In recent years, several major developments have taken place in the biology, physical chemistry and technology of polymorphism of membrane lipids. These include the identification of polymorphic regulation of membrane lipid composition in Escherichia coli, the importance of nonbilayer lipids for protein functioning, the special packing properties of bilayers containing these lipids, and the crystallization of a membrane protein out of three dimensional bilayer networks (lipid cubic phases). These exciting developments bring us closer to understanding the paradox of the lipid bilayer structure of biomembranes and the molecular basis of membrane protein structure and function.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Bacteriorhodopsins / chemistry
  • Escherichia coli / chemistry
  • Escherichia coli / metabolism
  • Lipid Bilayers / chemistry
  • Lipids / chemistry*
  • Membrane Lipids / chemistry
  • Membrane Lipids / metabolism
  • Membrane Proteins / chemistry*
  • Membrane Proteins / metabolism
  • Membranes, Artificial*
  • Models, Molecular
  • Molecular Conformation*


  • Lipid Bilayers
  • Lipids
  • Membrane Lipids
  • Membrane Proteins
  • Membranes, Artificial
  • Bacteriorhodopsins