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Membrane Deterioration During Senescence

J. Thompson, C. Froese, Yuwen Hong, K. Hudak, M. Smith
Published 1997 · Biology

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The lipid bilayers of plant membranes are normally liquid crystalline, reflecting the inherent rotational motion of membrane fatty acids at physiological temperature. With the onset of senescence, the chemical composition of membrane lipids changes resulting in lipid phase separations within the bilayer. These phase changes render the membranes leaky and lead to loss of essential ion gradients and impairment of cell function. The separation of lipid phases appears to be attributable to an accumulation of lipid metabolites in the bilayer that are formed during turnover and metabolism of membrane lipids. These metabolites are normally released from membranes as lipid–protein particles found in the cell cytosol and within organelles. The lipid–protein particles also contain catabolites of membrane proteins and appear to serve as a vehicle for removing lipid and protein metabolites that would otherwise destabilize the bilayer. They bear structural resemblance to oil bodies, which are abundant in oil seeds, an...



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