Skip to content

Lipid species affect morphology of endoplasmic reticulum: a sea urchin oocyte model of reversible

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Original languageEnglish
Number of pages22
JournalJournal of Lipid Research
DateAccepted/In press - 23 Sep 2019
DatePublished (current) - 23 Sep 2019


The endoplasmic reticulum (ER) is a large multifunctional organelle of eukaryotic cells. Malfunction of the ER in various disease states, such as atherosclerosis, Type 2 diabetes, cancer, Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s diseases and amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, often correlates with alterations in its morphology. The ER exhibits regionally variable membrane morphology that includes, at the extremes, large relatively flat surfaces and interconnected tubular structures highly curved in cross-section. Much evidence suggests that ER morphology is controlled by shaping proteins that associate with membrane lipids. To investigate the role of these lipids in ER morphology, we developed a sea urchin oocyte model which is a relatively quiescent cell in which the ER consists mostly of tubules. We altered levels of endogenous diacylglycerol, phosphatidylethanolamine and phosphatidylcholine by microinjection of enzymes or lipid delivery by fusion with liposomes and evaluated shape changes with two- and three-dimensional confocal imaging and three-dimensional electron microscopy techniques. Decreases and increases in the levels of lipids such as diacylglycerol or phosphatidylethanolamine characterized by negative spontaneous curvature correlated with conversion to sheet structures or tubules respectively. The effects of endogenous alterations of diacylglycerol were reversible upon exogenous delivery of lipids of negative spontaneous curvature. These data suggest that shaping proteins require threshold amounts of such lipids and that localized deficiencies of the lipids could contribute to alterations of ER morphology. The oocyte modeling system should be beneficial to future studies directed at understanding the precise spatial and compositional requirements of lipid species in interactions leading to alterations of organelle shaping.

    Research areas

  • membrane lipids, negative spontaneous curvature, oocytes, SBF scanning electron tomography, confocal microscopy, Diacylglycerol, Electron microscopy, Endoplasmic reticulum, Lipid Kinases, Phospholipases

Download statistics

No data available



  • Full-text PDF (author’s accepted manuscript)

    Rights statement: This is the author accepted manuscript (AAM). The final published version (version of record) is available online via American Society for Biochemistry and Molecular Biology at 10.1194/jlr.RA119000210 . Please refer to any applicable terms of use of the publisher.

    Accepted author manuscript, 1.4 MB, PDF document


View research connections

Related faculties, schools or groups