PerspectiveCell Biology

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Science  10 Aug 2012:
Vol. 337, Issue 6095, pp. 653-654
DOI: 10.1126/science.1227096

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Phosphorylated derivatives of phosphatidylinositol (PI) play critical roles in cell signaling and in regulating membrane traffic and cytoskeletal architecture (1). Phosphatidylinositol 4-phosphate (PI4P), for instance, is essential to the formation of vesicular carriers in the trans-Golgi network (2), and serves as a substrate for the synthesis of phosphatidylinositol (4,5)-bisphosphate [PI(4,5)P2] in the plasma membrane. On page 727 of this issue, Hammond et al. (3) reveal an unappreciated function of plasmalemmal PI4P in controlling protein recruitment and ion channel activity.