PerspectiveCell Biology

Fats, Flies, and Palmitate

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Science  03 May 2002:
Vol. 296, Issue 5569, pp. 857-858
DOI: 10.1126/science.1072154

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Biologists have long pondered how animal cells regulate the composition of their complex lipid membranes. In their Perspective, Nohturfft and Losick discuss new work ( Dobrosotskaya et al.) that solves another piece of the puzzle. Flies and mammals share a similar feedback pathway for lipid synthesis that depends on controlling the proteolysis of sterol response element binding protein. The new work shows that in flies, cleavage of this protein depends on a membrane phospholipid sensor, phosphatidylethanolamine.