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Durham University

Department of Chemistry

Publication details for Dr John M. Sanderson

Sanderson, John M (2020). Far From Inert: Membrane Lipids Possess Intrinsic Reactivity That Has Consequences For Cell Biology. BioEssays 42(3): 1900147.

Author(s) from Durham


In this article, it is hypothesized that a fundamental chemical reactivity exists between some non‐lipid constituents of cellular membranes and ester‐based lipids, the significance of which is not generally recognized. Many peptides and smaller organic molecules have now been shown to undergo lipidation reactions in model membranes in circumstances where direct reaction with the lipid is the only viable route for acyl transfer. Crucially, drugs like propranolol are lipidated in vivo with product profiles that are comparable to those produced in vitro. Some compounds have also been found to promote lipid hydrolysis. Drugs with high lytic activity in vivo tend to have higher toxicity in vitro. Deacylases and lipases are proposed as key enzymes that protect cells against the effects of intrinsic lipidation. The toxic effects of intrinsic lipidation are hypothesized to include a route by which nucleation can occur during the formation of amyloid fibrils.