Membrane lipids and cell death: An overview

Ileana M. Cristea, Mauro Degli Esposti

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

73 Scopus citations


In this article we overview major aspects of membrane lipids in the complex area of cell death, comprising apoptosis and various forms of programmed cell death. We have focused here on glycerophospholipids, the major components of cellular membranes. In particular, we present a detailed appraisal of mitochondrial lipids that attract increasing interest in the field of cell death, while the knowledge of their re-modelling and traffic remains limited. It is hoped that this review will stimulate further studies by lipid experts to fully elucidate various aspects of membrane lipid homeostasis that are discussed here. These studies will undoubtedly reveal new and important connections with the established players of cell death and their action in promoting or blocking membrane alteration of mitochondria and other organelles. We conclude that the new dynamic era of cell death research will pave the way for a better understanding of the 'chemistry of apoptosis'.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)133-160
Number of pages28
JournalChemistry and Physics of Lipids
Issue number2
StatePublished - May 1 2004
Externally publishedYes

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Biochemistry
  • Molecular Biology
  • Organic Chemistry
  • Cell Biology


  • Apoptosis
  • Bcl-2
  • Lipidomics
  • Membrane traffic
  • Mitochondria
  • Phospholipids


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