Phospholipid signaling has clear connections to a wide array of cellular processes, particularly in gene expression and in controlling the chromatin biology of cells. However, most of the work elucidating how phospholipid signaling pathways contribute to cellular physiology have studied cytoplasmic membranes, while relatively little attention has been paid to the role of phospholipid signaling in the nucleus. Recent work from several labs has shown that nuclear phospholipid signaling can have important roles that are specific to this cellular compartment. This review focuses on the nuclear phospholipid functions and the activities of phospholipid signaling enzymes that regulate metazoan chromatin and gene expression. In particular, we highlight the roles that nuclear phosphoinositides play in several nuclear-driven physiological processes, such as differentiation, proliferation, and gene expression. Taken together, the recent discovery of several specifically nuclear phospholipid functions could have dramatic impact on our understanding of the fundamental mechanisms that enable tight control of cellular physiology.
© 2017 Wiley Periodicals, Inc.