In repeated situations i’ve been asked whether Distribution Lists could be used to configure permissions in SharePoint Groups, by making them part of a specific SharePoint security Group.
The answer to that question is NO – if that Distribution List is NOT security-enabled (to figure out simply, besides asking your System Administrator is to look whether there is an Account behind that Distribution List – e.g does it have DOMAIN\DL_Name)!
Distribution lists are mainly used for e-mail distribution and are not security-enabled, by default. It is well known that Security groups can be used to control permissions for a SharePoint site by directly adding the security group and granting the entire group permissions, however one cannot use distribution lists in this way. Therefore, the distribution lists are not applicable for security permission scenarios in the SharePoint farm.
However, there seems to exist a way to manage the process of keeping the SharePoint group synchronized with the distribution group. Here is an article for this process (KB 825488):