Lipid transfer proteins and membrane contact sites in human cancer: Diego Peretti, SoHui Kim, Roberta Tufi and Sima Lev.
Lipid – transfer proteins were initially discovered as cytosolic factors that facilitate lipid transport between membrane bilayers in vitro. Many Lipid – transfer proteins have been isolated from bacteria, plants, yeast and also mammals, and extensively studied in cell – free systems and intact cells. A major advance in the Lipid – transfer proteins field was associated with the discovery of intracellular membrane contact sites, small cytosolic gaps between the endoplasmic reticulum and other cellular membranes, which accelerate lipid transfer by Lipid – transfer proteins. As Lipid – transfer proteins modulate the distribution of lipids within cellular membranes and many lipid species function as second messengers in a key signaling pathways that control cell survival, proliferation and migration, Lipid – transfer proteins have been implicated in cancer – associated signal transduction cascades. Increasing evidence suggests that Lipid – transfer proteins play an important role in cancer progression and metastasis. This review describes how different Lipid – transfer proteins as well as MCSs can contribute to cell transformation and malignant phenotype, and discusses how aberrant MCSs are associated with tumorigenesis in human.