In a paper of great importance, Payet et al. (Traffic, 2013) describe how Saturated Fatty Acids (SFA) alter membrane properties, directly impacting vesicular budding at later steps in the secretory pathway.
SFA accumulation results in increased amounts of ceramides/sphingolipids and saturated phospholipids; moreover, SFA affect the organizations of the trans-Golgi network/late secretory pathway, by decreasing the number of secretory vesicles en route to the plasma membrane. This process could account for altered delivery of proteins destined to the cell surface to their final destination.
Western-diet is excessively rich in saturated fat, and characterized by high levels of cholesterol and Trans Fatty Acids (TFA), and by an elevated omega-6/omega-3 ratio. The structure and biophysical properties of the cell membrane are thus completely altered in-vivo, and predispose to the development of Cardiovascular Diseases and Diabetes.
We are aware and convinced that the experimental models used in biological laboratories should be upgraded in order to successfully tackle these issues, otherwise, the experimental data and results contain substantial biases that would affect their accuracy. We are committed and almost ready to give our contribution, stay tuned!