Characterisation of lipids in cell signalling and membrane dynamics by nuclear magnetic resonance spectroscopy and mass spectrometry

Marie Garnier, Erick J. Dufourc, Banafshe Larijani

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review


Signaling lipids regulate cellular events directly by recruiting and/or activating specific proteins or indirectly by locally modifying the physical properties of the membrane. These events trigger the co-localisation and interaction of proteins on membranes. This in turn effects the function and the properties of the proteins. To enable a comprehensive study of the complex and spatially heterogeneous natural membrane, complementary analytical tools need to be applied. Spectroscopy tools such as nuclear magnetic resonance spectroscopy and mass spectrometry provide the sensitivity and the precision required for detecting low amounts of highly transient signaling lipids, but also determine their effect on membrane structure. Specific examples are used to illustrate the application of liquid NMR spectroscopy, solid state NMR spectroscopy and electrospray ionisation mass spectrometry. The main advantages and limitations of these tools are discussed in this review.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)133-143
Number of pages11
JournalSignal Transduction
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 10 Apr 2006


  • Lipid characterisation
  • Mass spectrometry
  • Membrane dynamics
  • Nuclear Magnetic Resonance spectroscopy
  • Signaling lipids

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Molecular Biology
  • Cell Biology

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