Structural and functional consequences of long-chain polyunsaturation in biomembranes
Biophysical studies have enabled some general principles to be deduced about the structural and dynamic consequences of lipid unsaturation in biomembranes. Since membrane function, either protein-mediated or occurring passively through the lipid bilayer, has been shown to be coupled closely to the lipid composition, any diseases or dietary conditions which cause alterations in the lipid chemistry will be reflected in functional changes of the membrane. Here, the relationship between lipid unsaturation and membrane structure and function at the molecular level will be presented. Special emphasis will be placed on neuronal systems, in the cases where this information is available.