Most biological membranes are extremely complex structures consisting of hundreds of different lipid and protein molecules. According to the famous fluid-mosaic model lipids and many proteins are free to diffuse very rapidly in the plane of the membrane. While such fast diffusion implies that different membrane lipids would be laterally randomly distributed, accumulating evidence indicates that in model and natural membranes the lipid components tend to adopt regular (superlattice-like) distributions. The superlattice model, put forward based on such evidence, is intriguing because it predicts that 1) there is a limited number of allowed compositions representing local minima in membrane free energy and 2) those energy minima could provide set-points for enzymes regulating membrane lipid compositions. Furthermore, the existence of a discrete number of allowed compositions could help to maintain organelle identity in the face of rapid inter-organelle membrane traffic. © 2008 Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved.
Somerharju, P., Virtanen, J. A., Cheng, K. H., & Hermansson, M. (2009, January). The superlattice model of lateral organization of membranes and its implications on membrane lipid homeostasis. Biochimica et Biophysica Acta - Biomembranes. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.bbamem.2008.10.004