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The endoplasmic reticulum (ER) is an interconnected network of tubular and planar membranes that supports the synthesis and export of proteins, carbohydrates and lipids. Phospholipids, in particular phosphatidylcholine (PC), are synthesized in the ER where they have essential functions including provision of membranes required for protein synthesis and export, cholesterol homeostasis, and triacylglycerol storage and secretion. Coordination of these biological processes is essential, as highlighted by findings that link phospholipid metabolism in the ER with perturbations in lipid storage/secretion and stress responses, ultimately contributing to obesity/diabetes, atherosclerosis and neurological disorders. Phospholipid synthesis is not uniformly distributed in the ER but is localized at membrane interfaces or contact zones with other organelles, and in dynamic, proliferating ER membranes. The topology of phospholipid synthesis is an important consideration when establishing the etiology of diseases that arise from ER dysfunction. This review will highlight our current understanding of the contribution of phospholipid synthesis to proper ER function, and how alterations contribute to aberrant stress responses and disease. This article is part of a Special Issue entitled: Functional and structural diversity of endoplasmic reticulum. Copyright © 2013 Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved.


Thomas A Lagace, Neale D Ridgway. The role of phospholipids in the biological activity and structure of the endoplasmic reticulum. Biochimica et biophysica acta. 2013 Nov;1833(11):2499-510

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PMID: 23711956

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