Photoswitchable Lipids

Johannes Morstein, Anna C. Impastato, Dirk Trauner

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review


Photoswitchable lipids are emerging tools for the precise manipulation and study of lipid function. They can modulate many aspects of membrane biophysics, including permeability, fluidity, lipid mobility and domain formation. They are also very useful in lipid physiology and enable optical control of a wide array of lipid receptors, such as ion channels, G protein-coupled receptors, nuclear hormone receptors, and enzymes that translocate to membranes. Enzymes involved in lipid metabolism often process them in a light-dependent fashion. Photoswitchable lipids complement other functionalized lipids widely used in lipid chemical biology, including isotope-labeled lipids (lipidomics), fluorescent lipids (imaging), bifunctional lipids (lipid–protein crosslinking), photocaged lipids (photopharmacology), and other labeled variants.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)73-83
Number of pages11
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 5 2021


  • amphiphiles
  • azobenzene
  • lipids
  • photopharmacology
  • photoswitches

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biochemistry
  • Molecular Medicine
  • Molecular Biology
  • Organic Chemistry


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