Non-canonical Role of Lipids in Cell Fates
Lipids are a diverse class of biomolecules. The biosynthesis and transport of these molecules are controlled by a considerable number of proteins, which facilitate spatio-temporal regulation of lipids during different fundamental cellular processes. Although lipids are traditionally considered as molecules for energy storage and as structural components of membranes, they are being increasingly recognized for their signaling roles. There is a growing appreciation of lipids’ chemical diversity, which approaches that of proteins. I will discuss findings from our laboratory on the involvement of ceramides, polyunsaturated triacylglycerols, and very long chain fatty acids in different types of programed cell death. I will also highlight recent innovative methods that have enabled the recognition of previously unknown lipid classes and/or roles of these molecules in different biological processes.