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The transport of lipids from their synthesis site at the endoplasmic reticulum (ER) to different target membranes could be mediated by both vesicular and nonvesicular transport mechanisms. Nonvesicular lipid transport appears to be the major transport route of certain lipid species, and could be mediated by either spontaneous lipid transport or by lipid-transfer proteins (LTPs). Although nonvesicular lipid transport has been extensively studied for more than four decades, its underlying mechanism, advantage and regulation, have not been fully explored. In particular, the function of LTPs and their involvement in intracellular lipid movement remain largely controversial. In this article, we describe the pathways by which lipids are synthesized at the ER and delivered to different cellular membranes, and discuss the role of LTPs in lipid transport both in vitro and in intact cells.


Lev, Sima

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