Lipids or proteins: Who is leading the dance at membrane contact sites?

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Understanding the mode of action of membrane contact sites (MCSs) across eukaryotic organisms at the near-atomic level to infer function at the cellular and tissue levels is a challenge scientists are currently facing. These peculiar systems dedicated to inter-organellar communication are perfect examples of cellular processes where the interplay between lipids and proteins is critical. In this mini review, we underline the link between membrane lipid environment, the recruitment of proteins at specialized membrane domains and the function of MCSs. More precisely, we want to give insights on the crucial role of lipids in defining the specificity of plant endoplasmic reticulum (ER)-plasma membrane (PM) MCSs and we further propose approaches to study them at multiple scales. Our goal is not so much to go into detailed description of MCSs, as there are numerous focused reviews on the subject, but rather try to pinpoint the critical elements defining those structures and give an original point of view by considering the subject from a near-atomic angle with a focus on lipids. We review current knowledge as to how lipids can define MCS territories, play a role in the recruitment and function of the MCS-associated proteins and in turn, how the lipid environment can be modified by proteins.




Petit, J. D., Immel, F., Lins, L., & Bayer, E. M. (2019, March 7). Lipids or proteins: Who is leading the dance at membrane contact sites? Frontiers in Plant Science. Frontiers Media S.A.

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