Phospholipids comprise a large body of lipids that define cells and organelles by forming membrane structures. Importantly, their complex metabolism represents a highly controlled cellular signaling network that is essential for mounting an effective innate immune response. Phospholipids in innate cells are subject to dynamic regulation by enzymes, whose activities are highly responsive to activation status. Along with their metabolic products, they regulate multiple aspects of innate immune cell biology, including shape change, aggregation, blood clotting, and degranulation. Phospholipid hydrolysis provides substrates for cell-cell communication, enables regulation of hemostasis, immunity, thrombosis, and vascular inflammation, and is centrally important in cardiovascular disease and associated comorbidities. Phospholipids themselves are also recognized by innate-like T cells, which are considered essential for recognition of infection or cancer, as well as self-antigens. This Review describes the major phospholipid metabolic pathways present in innate immune cells and summarizes the formation and metabolism of phospholipids as well as their emerging roles in cell biology and disease.
Valerie B. O’Donnell, Jamie Rossjohn, Michael J.O. Wakelam