Cells depend on hugely diverse lipidomes for many functions. The actions and structural integrity of the plasma membrane and most organelles also critically depend on membranes and their lipid components. Despite the biological importance of lipids, our understanding of lipid engagement, especially the roles of lipid hydrophobic alkyl side chains, in key cellular processes is still developing. Emerging research has begun to dissect the importance of lipids in intricate events such as cell division. This review discusses how these structurally diverse biomolecules are spatially and temporally regulated during cell division, with a focus on cytokinesis. We analyze how lipids facilitate changes in cellular morphology during division and how they participate in key signaling events. We identify which cytokinesis proteins are associated with membranes, suggesting lipid interactions. More broadly, we highlight key unaddressed questions in lipid cell biology and techniques, including mass spectrometry, advanced imaging, and chemical biology, which will help us gain insights into the functional roles of lipids.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)839-869
Number of pages31
JournalAnnual Review of Biochemistry
Early online date1 Mar 2018
Publication statusPublished - Jun 2018


  • cell division
  • cytokinesis
  • cytoskeleton
  • lipidomics
  • lipids
  • midbody


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