Do lipid turnover pathways respond to increased damage in membranes?
Because appropriate membrane composition can differ based on the needs of the cell, the membrane has to be able to modulate its makeup when challenged with different stimuli. One of the major challenges to the membrane is that the structure of fatty acid molecules makes them susceptible to attack by reactive oxygen species. The accumulation of damaged lipids in the membrane has a dramatic impact on the membrane’s ability to function, and, therefore, removing damaged fatty acids from the membrane has implications for protecting membrane function. Although an active response to damage has been observed in proteins and nucleic acids, an inducible lipid repair pathway has not been defined. In this project, we will characterize if fatty acid turnover is a lipid repair pathway that aids in the elimination of damaged fatty acids.