Article révisé par les pairs
Résumé : Cationic lipids have been extensively used as carriers of biologically active molecules (nucleic acids, peptides and proteins) into cells. Recent data provided evidence that cationic lipids are not just inert transporters but do activate specific cellular cascades. This review illustrates these activating properties with a few examples. Cell activation raises the question of which receptors are involved. Some cationic lipids seem to satisfy specific structural requirements of Toll-like receptors (TLR4) as they activate TLR4-dependent pathways. However, cationic lipids display a large structural diversity and it is likely that they are also recognized by receptors with a broader specificity. Alternatives are proposed and discussed to explain this broad specificity.