Long-chain acyl-CoA esters have potent specific actions (e.g. on gene transcription, membrane trafficking) as well as non-specific ones (e.g. on phospholipid bilayers). They are synthesized on the cytosolic aspects of several intracellular membranes, to give rise to (a) cytosolic pool(s) to which a variety of enzymes and processes have access, including some localized in the nucleus. Their concentration in cells is highly regulated, interconversion with corresponding acylcarnitines being the most important mechanism involved. This reaction is catalysed by cytosol-accessible carnitine long-chain acyl (palmitoyl) transferase activities that are themselves located on multiple membrane systems. Regulation of these activities is through the inhibitory action of malonyl-CoA. Hence the existence of a potent malonyl-CoA-acyl-CoA axis through which many processes involved in the maintenance of mammalian cell function are regulated. The molecular, topographical and physiological interactions that make this possible are described and discussed.

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