Lipids influence powerfully the function of ion channels and transporters in two well-documented ways. A few lipids act as bona fide second messengers by binding to specific sites that control channel and transporter gating. Other lipids act nonspecifically by modifying the physical environment of channels and transporters, in particular the protein-membrane interface. In this short review, we first consider lipid signaling from this traditional viewpoint, highlighting innumerable Journal of General Physiology publications that have contributed to our present understanding. We then switch to our own emerging view that much important lipid signaling occurs via the formation of membrane domains that influence the function of channels and transporters within them, promote selected protein-protein interactions, and control the turnover of surface membrane.
ASJC Scopus subject areas