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1.  Involvement of phosphatidate phosphatase in the biosynthesis of triacylglycerols in Chlamydomonas reinhardtii * #  
Lipid biosynthesis is essential for eukaryotic cells, but the mechanisms of the process in microalgae remain poorly understood. Phosphatidic acid phosphohydrolase or 3-sn-phosphatidate phosphohydrolase (PAP) catalyzes the dephosphorylation of phosphatidic acid to form diacylglycerols and inorganic orthophosphates. This reaction is integral in the synthesis of triacylglycerols. In this study, the mRNA level of the PAP isoform CrPAP2 in a species of Chlamydomonas was found to increase in nitrogen-free conditions. Silencing of the CrPAP2 gene using RNA interference resulted in the decline of lipid content by 2.4%–17.4%. By contrast, over-expression of the CrPAP2 gene resulted in an increase in lipid content by 7.5%–21.8%. These observations indicate that regulation of the CrPAP2 gene can control the lipid content of the algal cells. In vitro CrPAP2 enzyme activity assay indicated that the cloned CrPAP2 gene exhibited biological activities.
PMCID: PMC3863370  PMID: 24302712
Phosphatidate phosphohydrolase 2; Triacylglycerol biosynthesis; RNAi; Chlamydomonas reinhardtii; Nitrogen deprivation; Over-expression
2.  The discovery of the fat-regulating phosphatidic acid phosphatase gene 
Frontiers in biology  2011;6(3):172-176.
Phosphatidic acid phosphatase is a fat-regulating enzyme that plays a major role in controlling the balance of phosphatidic acid (substrate) and diacylglycerol (product), which are lipid precursors used for the synthesis of membrane phospholipids and triacylglycerol. Phosphatidic acid is also a signaling molecule that triggers phospholipid synthesis gene expression, membrane expansion, secretion, and endocytosis. While this important enzyme has been known for several decades, its gene was only identified recently from yeast. This discovery showed the importance of phosphatidic acid phosphatase in lipid metabolism in yeast as well as in higher eukaryotes including humans.
PMCID: PMC3139499  PMID: 21785579
phosphatidic acid phosphatase; yeast; lipin; phospholipid; triacylglycerol
3.  Biosynthesis of phosphatidic acid in lipid particles and endoplasmic reticulum of Saccharomyces cerevisiae. 
Journal of Bacteriology  1997;179(24):7611-7616.
Lipid particles of the yeast Saccharomyces cerevisiae harbor two enzymes that stepwise acylate glycerol-3-phosphate to phosphatidic acid, a key intermediate in lipid biosynthesis. In lipid particles of the s1c1 disruptant YMN5 (M. M. Nagiec et al., J. Biol. Chem. 268:22156-22163, 1993) acylation stops after the first step, resulting in the accumulation of lysophosphatidic acid. Two-dimensional gel electrophoresis confirmed that S1c1p is a component of lipid particles. Lipid particles of a second mutant strain, TTA1 (T. S. Tillman and R. M. Bell, J. Biol. Chem. 261:9144-9149, 1986), which harbors a point mutation in the GAT gene, are essentially devoid of glycerol-3-phosphate acyltransferase activity in vitro. Synthesis of phosphatidic acid is reconstituted by combining lipid particles from YMN5 and TTA1. These results indicate that two distinct enzymes are necessary for phosphatidic acid synthesis in lipid particles: the first step, acylation of glycerol-3-phosphate, is catalyzed by a putative Gat1p; the second step, acylation of lysophosphatidic acid, requires S1c1p. Surprisingly, YMN5 and TTA1 mutants grow like the corresponding wild types because the endoplasmic reticulum of both mutants has the capacity to form a reduced but significant amount of phosphatidic acid. As a consequence, an s1c1 gat1 double mutant is also viable. Lipid particles from this double mutant fail completely to acylate glycerol-3-phosphate, whereas endoplasmic reticulum membranes harbor residual enzyme activities to synthesize phosphatidic acid. Thus, yeast contains at least two independent systems of phosphatidic acid biosynthesis.
PMCID: PMC179720  PMID: 9401016
4.  Identification and physiological characterization of phosphatidic acid phosphatase enzymes involved in triacylglycerol biosynthesis in Streptomyces coelicolor 
Phosphatidic acid phosphatase (PAP, EC catalyzes the dephosphorylation of phosphatidate yielding diacylglycerol (DAG), the lipid precursor for triacylglycerol (TAG) biosynthesis. Despite the importance of PAP activity in TAG producing bacteria, studies to establish its role in lipid metabolism have been so far restricted only to eukaryotes. Considering the increasing interest of bacterial TAG as a potential source of raw material for biofuel production, we have focused our studies on the identification and physiological characterization of the putative PAP present in the TAG producing bacterium Streptomyces coelicolor.
We have identified two S. coelicolor genes, named lppα (SCO1102) and lppβ (SCO1753), encoding for functional PAP proteins. Both enzymes mediate, at least in part, the formation of DAG for neutral lipid biosynthesis. Heterologous expression of lppα and lppβ genes in E. coli resulted in enhanced PAP activity in the membrane fractions of the recombinant strains and concomitantly in higher levels of DAG. In addition, the expression of these genes in yeast complemented the temperature-sensitive growth phenotype of the PAP deficient strain GHY58 (dpp1lpp1pah1). In S. coelicolor, disruption of either lppα or lppβ had no effect on TAG accumulation; however, the simultaneous mutation of both genes provoked a drastic reduction in de novo TAG biosynthesis as well as in total TAG content. Consistently, overexpression of Lppα and Lppβ in the wild type strain of S. coelicolor led to a significant increase in TAG production.
The present study describes the identification of PAP enzymes in bacteria and provides further insights on the genetic basis for prokaryotic oiliness. Furthermore, this finding completes the whole set of enzymes required for de novo TAG biosynthesis pathway in S. coelicolor. Remarkably, the overexpression of these PAPs in Streptomyces bacteria contributes to a higher productivity of this single cell oil. Altogether, these results provide new elements and tools for future cell engineering for next-generation biofuels production.
PMCID: PMC3599759  PMID: 23356794
PAP; Triacylglycerol; Oleaginous bacteria; Lipid metabolism
5.  Phosphatidate Phosphatase, a Key Regulator of Lipid Homeostasis 
Biochimica et biophysica acta  2012;1831(3):514-522.
Yeast Pah1p phosphatidate phosphatase (PAP) catalyzes the penultimate step in the synthesis of triacylglycerol. PAP plays a crucial role in lipid homeostasis by controlling the relative proportions of its substrate phosphatidate and its product diacylglycerol. The cellular amounts of these lipid intermediates influence the synthesis of triacylglycerol and the pathways by which membrane phospholipids are synthesized. Physiological functions affected by PAP activity include phospholipid synthesis gene expression, nuclear/endoplasmic reticulum membrane growth, lipid droplet formation, and vacuole homeostasis and fusion. Yeast lacking Pah1p PAP activity are acutely sensitive to fatty acid-induced toxicity and exhibit respiratory deficiency. PAP is distinguished in its cellular location, catalytic mechanism, and physiological functions from Dpp1p and Lpp1p lipid phosphate phosphatases that utilize a variety of substrates that include phosphatidate. Phosphorylation/dephosphorylation is a major mechanism by which Pah1p PAP activity is regulated. Pah1p is phosphorylated by cytosolic-associated Pho85p-Pho80p, Cdc28p-cyclin B, and protein kinase A and is dephosphorylated by the endoplasmic reticulum-associated Nem1p-Spo7p phosphatase. The dephosphorylation of Pah1p stimulates PAP activity and facilitates the association with the membrane/phosphatidate allowing for its reaction and triacylglycerol synthesis.
PMCID: PMC3549317  PMID: 22910056
Lipid synthesis; Triacylglycerol; Phosphatidate; Diacylglycerol; phosphatidate phosphatase; Lipid phosphate phosphatase; Yeast
6.  Redundant Systems of Phosphatidic Acid Biosynthesis via Acylation of Glycerol-3-Phosphate or Dihydroxyacetone Phosphate in the Yeast Saccharomyces cerevisiae 
Journal of Bacteriology  1999;181(5):1458-1463.
In the yeast Saccharomyces cerevisiae lipid particles harbor two acyltransferases, Gat1p and Slc1p, which catalyze subsequent steps of acylation required for the formation of phosphatidic acid. Both enzymes are also components of the endoplasmic reticulum, but this compartment contains additional acyltransferase(s) involved in the biosynthesis of phosphatidic acid (K. Athenstaedt and G. Daum, J. Bacteriol. 179:7611–7616, 1997). Using the gat1 mutant strain TTA1, we show here that Gat1p present in both subcellular fractions accepts glycerol-3-phosphate and dihydroxyacetone phosphate as a substrate. Similarly, the additional acyltransferase(s) present in the endoplasmic reticulum can acylate both precursors. In contrast, yeast mitochondria harbor an enzyme(s) that significantly prefers dihydroxyacetone phosphate as a substrate for acylation, suggesting that at least one additional independent acyltransferase is present in this organelle. Surprisingly, enzymatic activity of 1-acyldihydroxyacetone phosphate reductase, which is required for the conversion of 1-acyldihydroxyacetone phosphate to 1-acylglycerol-3-phosphate (lysophosphatidic acid), is detectable only in lipid particles and the endoplasmic reticulum and not in mitochondria. In vivo labeling of wild-type cells with [2-3H, U-14C]glycerol revealed that both glycerol-3-phosphate and dihydroxyacetone phosphate can be incorporated as a backbone of glycerolipids. In the gat1 mutant and the 1-acylglycerol-3-phosphate acyltransferase slc1 mutant, the dihydroxyacetone phosphate pathway of phosphatidic acid biosynthesis is slightly preferred as compared to the wild type. Thus, mutations of the major acyltransferases Gat1p and Slc1p lead to an increased contribution of mitochondrial acyltransferase(s) to glycerolipid synthesis due to their substrate preference for dihydroxyacetone phosphate.
PMCID: PMC93534  PMID: 10049376
7.  Inactivation of the Host Lipin Gene Accelerates RNA Virus Replication through Viral Exploitation of the Expanded Endoplasmic Reticulum Membrane 
PLoS Pathogens  2014;10(2):e1003944.
RNA viruses take advantage of cellular resources, such as membranes and lipids, to assemble viral replicase complexes (VRCs) that drive viral replication. The host lipins (phosphatidate phosphatases) are particularly interesting because these proteins play key roles in cellular decisions about membrane biogenesis versus lipid storage. Therefore, we examined the relationship between host lipins and tombusviruses, based on yeast model host. We show that deletion of PAH1 (phosphatidic acid phosphohydrolase), which is the single yeast homolog of the lipin gene family of phosphatidate phosphatases, whose inactivation is responsible for proliferation and expansion of the endoplasmic reticulum (ER) membrane, facilitates robust RNA virus replication in yeast. We document increased tombusvirus replicase activity in pah1Δ yeast due to the efficient assembly of VRCs. We show that the ER membranes generated in pah1Δ yeast is efficiently subverted by this RNA virus, thus emphasizing the connection between host lipins and RNA viruses. Thus, instead of utilizing the peroxisomal membranes as observed in wt yeast and plants, TBSV readily switches to the vastly expanded ER membranes in lipin-deficient cells to build VRCs and support increased level of viral replication. Over-expression of the Arabidopsis Pah2p in Nicotiana benthamiana decreased tombusvirus accumulation, validating that our findings are also relevant in a plant host. Over-expression of AtPah2p also inhibited the ER-based replication of another plant RNA virus, suggesting that the role of lipins in RNA virus replication might include several more eukaryotic viruses.
Author Summary
Genetic diseases alter cellular pathways and they likely influence pathogen-host interactions as well. To test the relationship between a key cellular gene, whose mutation causes genetic diseases, and a pathogen, the authors have chosen the cellular lipins. Lipins are involved in a key cellular decision on using lipids for membrane biogenesis or for storage. Spontaneous mutations in the LIPIN1 gene in mammals, which cause impaired lipin-1 function, contribute to common metabolic dysregulation and several major diseases, such as obesity, hyperinsulinemia, type 2 diabetes, fatty liver distrophy and hypertension. In this work, the authors tested if tomato bushy stunt virus (TBSV), which, similar to many (+)RNA viruses, depends on host membrane biogenesis, is affected by deletion of the single lipin gene (PAH1) in yeast model host. They show that pah1Δ yeast supports increased replication of TBSV. They demonstrate that TBSV takes advantage of the expanded ER membranes in lipin-deficient yeast to efficiently assemble viral replicase complexes. Their findings suggest possible positive effect of a genetic disease caused by mutation on the replication of an infectious agent.
PMCID: PMC3930575  PMID: 24586157
8.  YPR139c/LOA1 encodes a novel lysophosphatidic acid acyltransferase associated with lipid droplets and involved in TAG homeostasis 
Molecular Biology of the Cell  2012;23(2):233-246.
LOA1, a yeast member of the glycerolipid acyltransferase family, encodes a novel lysophosphatidic acid acyltransferase associated with lipid droplets (LDs) and involved in triacylglycerol (TAG) accumulation. Loa1p, recruited during LD formation, preferentially directs oleic acid–containing phosphatidic acid species into the TAG biosynthetic pathway.
For many years, lipid droplets (LDs) were considered to be an inert store of lipids. However, recent data showed that LDs are dynamic organelles playing an important role in storage and mobilization of neutral lipids. In this paper, we report the characterization of LOA1 (alias VPS66, alias YPR139c), a yeast member of the glycerolipid acyltransferase family. LOA1 mutants show abnormalities in LD morphology. As previously reported, cells lacking LOA1 contain more LDs. Conversely, we showed that overexpression results in fewer LDs. We then compared the lipidome of loa1Δ mutant and wild-type strains. Steady-state metabolic labeling of loa1Δ revealed a significant reduction in triacylglycerol content, while phospholipid (PL) composition remained unchanged. Interestingly, lipidomic analysis indicates that both PLs and glycerolipids are qualitatively affected by the mutation, suggesting that Loa1p is a lysophosphatidic acid acyltransferase (LPA AT) with a preference for oleoyl-CoA. This hypothesis was tested by in vitro assays using both membranes of Escherichia coli cells expressing LOA1 and purified proteins as enzyme sources. Our results from purification of subcellular compartments and proteomic studies show that Loa1p is associated with LD and active in this compartment. Loa1p is therefore a novel LPA AT and plays a role in LD formation.
PMCID: PMC3258169  PMID: 22090344
9.  Distinct Roles of the Phosphatidate Phosphatases Lipin 1 and 2 during Adipogenesis and Lipid Droplet Biogenesis in 3T3-L1 Cells* 
The Journal of Biological Chemistry  2013;288(48):34502-34513.
Background: Lipins are phosphatidate phosphatases that generate diacylglycerol for lipid synthesis.
Results: Lipin 1 or lipin 2 depletion has distinct effects on differentiating adipocytes. Cells depleted of both lipins after initiation of adipogenesis accumulate triacylglycerol but display lipid droplet fragmentation.
Conclusion: Lipins have a role in lipid droplet biogenesis after initiation of adipogenesis.
Significance: Lipins play multiple roles during adipocyte differentiation.
Lipins are evolutionarily conserved Mg2+-dependent phosphatidate phosphatase (PAP) enzymes with essential roles in lipid biosynthesis. Mammals express three paralogues: lipins 1, 2, and 3. Loss of lipin 1 in mice inhibits adipogenesis at an early stage of differentiation and results in a lipodystrophic phenotype. The role of lipins at later stages of adipogenesis, when cells initiate the formation of lipid droplets, is less well characterized. We found that depletion of lipin 1, after the initiation of differentiation in 3T3-L1 cells but before the loading of lipid droplets with triacylglycerol, results in a reciprocal increase of lipin 2, but not lipin 3. We generated 3T3-L1 cells where total lipin protein and PAP activity levels are down-regulated by the combined depletion of lipins 1 and 2 at day 4 of differentiation. These cells still accumulated triacylglycerol but displayed a striking fragmentation of lipid droplets without significantly affecting their total volume per cell. This was due to the lack of the PAP activity of lipin 1 in adipocytes after day 4 of differentiation, whereas depletion of lipin 2 led to an increase of lipid droplet volume per cell. We propose that in addition to their roles during early adipogenesis, lipins also have a role in lipid droplet biogenesis.
PMCID: PMC3843065  PMID: 24133206
Adipocyte; Lipids; Mouse; Phosphatase; Phosphatidate; Triacylglycerol; Lipin
10.  Regulation of phosphatidate phosphatase activity by inositol in Saccharomyces cerevisiae. 
Journal of Bacteriology  1988;170(8):3561-3566.
Regulation of phosphatidate phosphatase (EC 3.1.34) activity was examined in Saccharomyces cerevisiae cells supplemented with phospholipid precursors. Addition of inositol to the growth medium of wild-type cells resulted in a twofold increase in phosphatidate phosphatase activity. The increase in phosphatidate phosphatase activity was not due to soluble effector molecules, and inositol did not have a direct effect on enzyme activity. The phosphatidate phosphatase activity associated with the mitochondrial, microsomal, and cytosolic fractions of the cell was regulated by inositol in the same manner. Cells supplemented with inositol had elevated phospholipid levels and reduced triacylglycerol levels compared with unsupplemented cells. Serine, ethanolamine, and choline did not significantly affect the phosphatidate phosphatase activity of cells grown in the absence or presence of inositol. Enzyme activity was not regulated in inositol biosynthesis regulatory mutants, suggesting that regulation by inositol is coupled to regulation of inositol biosynthesis. Phosphatidate phosphatase activity was pleiotropically expressed in structural gene mutants defective in phospholipid biosynthesis. These results suggested that phosphatidate phosphatase was regulated by inositol at a genetic level.
PMCID: PMC211329  PMID: 2841291
11.  Isolation and characterization of membranes from a hydrocarbon-oxidizing Acinetobacter sp. 
Journal of Bacteriology  1976;127(1):469-480.
Membranes were isolated and purified from nutrient broth-yeast extract- and hexadecane-grown cells of Acinetobacter sp. strain HO1-N. Two membrane fractions were isolated from nutrient broth-yeast extract-grown cells, the cytoplasmic membrane and the outer membrane. In addition to these two membrane fractions, a unique membrane fraction was isolated from hexadecane-grown cells (band 1) and characterized as a lipid-rich, low-density membrane containing high concentrations of hexadecane. The outer membrane preparations of Acinetobacter, obtained from nutrient broth-yeast extract- and hexadecane-grown cells, exhibited a low ratio of lipid phosphorus to protein and contained phospholipase activity and 2-keto-3-deoxyoctulosonic acid. Phosphatidic acid cytidyltransferase, adenosine triphosphatase, and reduced nicotinamide adenine dinucleotide oxidase were recovered almost exclusively in the cytoplasmic membrane fractions. The cytoplasmic membrane fractions contained 20 to 25 polypeptide species on sodium dodecyl sulfate-polyacrylamide gels, and the outer membrane fractions contained 15 to 20 polypeptide species. A major polypeptide species with an apparent molecular weight of approximately 42,000 to 44,000 was found for all outer membrane fractions. The buoyant densities of the cytoplasmic membrane fractions and the outer membrane fractions were closely similar, necessitating their separation by differential centrifugation. Band 1 of hexadecane-grown cells had a ratio of lipid phosphorus to protein that was almost twice that of cytoplasmic membrane and a correspondingly low buoyant density (1.086 g/cm3). Enzyme activities associated with band 1 were identical to those associated with the cytoplasmic membrane. The electrophoretic banding pattern of band 1 was essentially identical to the banding pattern of the cytoplasmic membrane. The phospholipid and neutral lipid compositions of the isolated membrane fractions were determined as qualitatively similar, with significant quantitative differences. The ultrastructure characteristics of the respective membrane fractions were examined by the negative-stain technique.
PMCID: PMC233080  PMID: 132429
12.  An Unconventional Diacylglycerol Kinase That Regulates Phospholipid Synthesis and Nuclear Membrane Growth*♦ 
The Journal of Biological Chemistry  2008;283(29):20433-20442.
Changes in nuclear size and shape during the cell cycle or during development require coordinated nuclear membrane remodeling, but the underlying molecular events are largely unknown. We have shown previously that the activity of the conserved phosphatidate phosphatase Pah1p/Smp2p regulates nuclear structure in yeast by controlling phospholipid synthesis and membrane biogenesis at the nuclear envelope. Two screens for novel regulators of phosphatidate led to the identification of DGK1. We show that Dgk1p is a unique diacylglycerol kinase that uses CTP, instead of ATP, to generate phosphatidate. DGK1 counteracts the activity of PAH1 at the nuclear envelope by controlling phosphatidate levels. Overexpression of DGK1 causes the appearance of phosphatidate-enriched membranes around the nucleus and leads to its expansion, without proliferating the cortical endoplasmic reticulum membrane. Mutations that decrease phosphatidate levels decrease nuclear membrane growth in pah1Δ cells. We propose that phosphatidate metabolism is a critical factor determining nuclear structure by regulating nuclear membrane biogenesis.
PMCID: PMC2459266  PMID: 18458075
13.  Regulation of lipid droplet and membrane biogenesis by the acidic tail of the phosphatidate phosphatase Pah1p 
Molecular Biology of the Cell  2013;24(13):2124-2133.
Binding and dephosphorylation of the yeast lipin Pah1p by its phosphatase Nem1p-Spo7p is essential for its membrane targeting and is mediated by a C-terminal acidic stretch on Pah1p. This results in the recruitment of Pah1p to the vicinity of lipid droplets, where it controls triglyceride and droplet biogenesis in an acidic tail–dependent manner.
Lipins are evolutionarily conserved phosphatidate phosphatases that perform key functions in phospholipid, triglyceride, and membrane biogenesis. Translocation of lipins on membranes requires their dephosphorylation by the Nem1p-Spo7p transmembrane phosphatase complex through a poorly understood mechanism. Here we identify the carboxy-terminal acidic tail of the yeast lipin Pah1p as an important regulator of this step. Deletion or mutations of the tail disrupt binding of Pah1p to the Nem1p-Spo7p complex and Pah1p membrane translocation. Overexpression of Nem1p-Spo7p drives the recruitment of Pah1p in the vicinity of lipid droplets in an acidic tail–dependent manner and induces lipid droplet biogenesis. Genetic analysis shows that the acidic tail is essential for the Nem1p-Spo7p–dependent activation of Pah1p but not for the function of Pah1p itself once it is dephosphorylated. Loss of the tail disrupts nuclear structure, INO1 gene expression, and triglyceride synthesis. Similar acidic sequences are present in the carboxy-terminal ends of all yeast lipin orthologues. We propose that acidic tail–dependent binding and dephosphorylation of Pah1p by the Nem1p-Spo7p complex is an important determinant of its function in lipid and membrane biogenesis.
PMCID: PMC3694796  PMID: 23657815
14.  Leadership in Orchestra Emerges from the Causal Relationships of Movement Kinematics 
PLoS ONE  2012;7(5):e35757.
Non-verbal communication enables efficient transfer of information among people. In this context, classic orchestras are a remarkable instance of interaction and communication aimed at a common aesthetic goal: musicians train for years in order to acquire and share a non-linguistic framework for sensorimotor communication. To this end, we recorded violinists' and conductors' movement kinematics during execution of Mozart pieces, searching for causal relationships among musicians by using the Granger Causality method (GC). We show that the increase of conductor-to-musicians influence, together with the reduction of musician-to-musician coordination (an index of successful leadership) goes in parallel with quality of execution, as assessed by musical experts' judgments. Rigorous quantification of sensorimotor communication efficacy has always been complicated and affected by rather vague qualitative methodologies. Here we propose that the analysis of motor behavior provides a potentially interesting tool to approach the rather intangible concept of aesthetic quality of music and visual communication efficacy.
PMCID: PMC3348913  PMID: 22590511
15.  Putting the pH into phosphatidic acid signaling 
BMC Biology  2011;9:85.
The lipid phosphatidic acid (PA) has important roles in cell signaling and metabolic regulation in all organisms. New evidence indicates that PA also has an unprecedented role as a pH biosensor, coupling changes in pH to intracellular signaling pathways. pH sensing is a property of the phosphomonoester headgroup of PA. A number of other potent signaling lipids also contain headgroups with phosphomonoesters, implying that pH sensing by lipids may be widespread in biology.
PMCID: PMC3229452  PMID: 22136116
16.  Nutritional modifiers of aging brain function: Increasing the formation of brain synapses by administering uridine and other phosphatide precursors 
Nutrition reviews  2010;68(Suppl 2):S88-101.
Brain phosphatide synthesis requires three circulating compounds: docosahexaenoic acid (DHA), uridine and choline. Oral administration of these phosphatide precursors to experimental animals increases the levels of phosphatides and synaptic proteins in the brain and per brain cell, as well as the numbers of dendritic spines on hippocampal neurons. Arachidonic acid (AA) fails to reproduce these effects of DHA. If similar increases occur in human brain, giving these compounds to patients with diseases – like Alzheimer’s disease – which cause the loss of brain synapses – could be beneficial.
PMCID: PMC3062998  PMID: 21091953
17.  Phosphoinositide metabolism and the morphology of human erythrocytes 
The Journal of Cell Biology  1984;98(6):1992-1998.
ATP-depleted human erythrocytes lose their smooth discoid shape and adopt a spiny, crenated form. This shape change coincides with the conversion of phosphatidylinositol-4,5-bisphosphate to phosphatidylinositol and phosphatidic acid to diacylglycerol. Both crenation and lipid dephosphorylation are accelerated by iodoacetamide, and both are reversed by nutrient supplementation. The observed changes in lipid populations should shrink the membrane inner monolayer by 0.6%, consistent with estimates of bilayer imbalance in crenated cells. These observations suggest that metabolic crenation arises from a loss of inner monolayer area secondary to the degradation of phosphatidylinositol-4,5-bisphosphate and phosphatidic acid. A related process, crenation after Ca2+ loading, appears to arise from a loss inositides by a different pathway.
PMCID: PMC2113039  PMID: 6327723
18.  Design of isoform-selective phospholipase D inhibitors that modulate cancer cell invasiveness 
Nature chemical biology  2009;5(2):108-117.
Phospholipase D (PLD) is an essential enzyme responsible for the production of the lipid second messenger phosphatidic acid. Phosphatidic acid participates in both G protein-coupled receptor and receptor tyrosine kinase signal transduction networks. The lack of potent and isoform-selective inhibitors has limited progress in defining the cellular roles of PLD. We used a diversity-oriented synthetic approach and developed a library of PLD inhibitors with considerable pharmacological characterization. Here we report the rigorous evaluation of that library, which contains highly potent inhibitors, including the first isoform-selective PLD inhibitors. Specific members of this series inhibit isoforms with > 100-fold selectivity both in vitro and in cells. A subset of inhibitors was shown to block invasiveness in metastatic breast cancer models. These findings demonstrate the power of diversity-oriented synthesis combined with biochemical assays and mass spectrometric lipid profiling of cellular responses to develop the first isoform-selective PLD inhibitors—a new class of antimetastatic agents.
PMCID: PMC3798018  PMID: 19136975
19.  Incorporation of orthophosphate-32P into erythrocyte phospholipids in normal subjects and in patients with hereditary spherocytosis 
Journal of Clinical Investigation  1968;47(12):2630-2638.
The in vitro incorporation of inorganic 32P into erythrocyte phospholipids has been studied in normal subjects and in splenectomized patients with hereditary spherocytosis (HS). Phosphatidic acid (PA) was the only lipid measurably labeled in both kinds of cells. The actual turnover rate of PA phosphate was determined by simultaneously isolating inorganic phosphate (Pi) and adenosine triphosphate (ATP) and determining their specific activities. This turnover is very small: 1.3 μmoles P/liter of erythrocytes per hr in normal cells and 4.0 μmoles P in HS erythrocytes when either ATP or cellular Pi is considered the immediate precursor. This value represents less than 0.1% of the total membrane lipid phosphate. Incorporation of added 32Pi into the other phosphatides, including phosphatidyl serine, was essentially zero in both kinds of cells.
The effects of stimulation and inhibition of active cation transport, metabolic depletion, and extracellular phosphate concentration on both the degree of labeling and the actual turnover of PA phosphate were studied. In any given experiment, the degree of labeling of PA depended on the specific activities of the other intracellular phosphates (Pi and ATP). The actual turnover rate of PA phosphate, however, did not vary with active transport or metabolic depletion. The greater turnover of PA phosphate in HS erythrocytes may be due to the somewhat younger age of these cells. The results suggest that the very low turnover of PA phosphate in erythrocytes is mediated by nonspecific enzyme reactions, and that it is quantitatively insignificant in both normal and HS erythrocytes. The results also emphasize the importance of measuring intracellular phosphate precursors in any study evaluating cellular phospholipid turnover from added 32Pi.
PMCID: PMC297434  PMID: 4302178
20.  Transcription Factor Reb1p Regulates DGK1-encoded Diacylglycerol Kinase and Lipid Metabolism in Saccharomyces cerevisiae* 
The Journal of Biological Chemistry  2013;288(40):29124-29133.
Background: Diacylglycerol kinase produces phosphatidate, a major precursor for the synthesis of membrane phospholipids.
Results: The expression of diacylglycerol kinase is induced by the Reb1p transcription factor, and the resulting activity increase is essential for the enzyme function in phospholipid synthesis.
Conclusion: The Reb1p-mediated transcriptional activation regulates the expression of diacylglycerol kinase activity.
Significance: Diacylglycerol kinase is regulated at the level of transcription.
In the yeast Saccharomyces cerevisiae, the DGK1-encoded diacylglycerol kinase catalyzes the CTP-dependent phosphorylation of diacylglycerol to form phosphatidate. This enzyme, in conjunction with PAH1-encoded phosphatidate phosphatase, controls the levels of phosphatidate and diacylglycerol for phospholipid synthesis, membrane growth, and lipid droplet formation. In this work, we showed that a functional level of diacylglycerol kinase is regulated by the Reb1p transcription factor. In the electrophoretic mobility shift assay, purified recombinant Reb1p was shown to specifically bind its consensus recognition sequence (CGGGTAA, −166 to −160) in the DGK1 promoter. Analysis of cells expressing the PDGK1-lacZ reporter gene showed that mutations (GT→TG) in the Reb1p-binding sequence caused an 8.6-fold reduction in β-galactosidase activity. The expression of DGK1(reb1), a DGK1 allele containing the Reb1p-binding site mutation, was greatly lower than that of the wild type allele, as indicated by analyses of DGK1 mRNA, Dgk1p, and diacylglycerol kinase activity. In the presence of cerulenin, an inhibitor of de novo fatty acid synthesis, the dgk1Δ mutant expressing DGK1(reb1) exhibited a significant defect in growth as well as in the synthesis of phospholipids from triacylglycerol mobilization. Unlike DGK1, the DGK1(reb1) expressed in the dgk1Δ pah1Δ mutant did not result in the nuclear/endoplasmic reticulum membrane expansion, which occurs in cells lacking phosphatidate phosphatase activity. Taken together, these results indicate that the Reb1p-mediated regulation of diacylglycerol kinase plays a major role in its in vivo functions in lipid metabolism.
PMCID: PMC3790011  PMID: 23970552
Diacylglycerol; Glycerolipid; Phosphatidate; Phospholipid; Phospholipid Metabolism; Phospholipid Turnover; Diacylglycerol Kinase
21.  Lipid profiling by electrospray ionization tandem mass spectrometry and the identification of lipid phosphorylation by kinases in potato stolons 
There is limited information about the involvement of lipids and esterified fatty acids in signaling pathways during plant development. The purpose of this study was to evaluate the lipid composition and molecular species of potato (Solanum tuberosum L., cv. Spunta) stolons and to identify phosphorylated lipids in the first two developmental stages of tuber formation. Lipid profiling was determined using ESI-MS/MS, a useful method for the determination of the biosynthesis and catabolism of lipids based on their fatty acid composition. The most prevalent compound identified in this study was phosphatidic acid (PA); digalactosyldiacylglycerol (DGDG) was the second most abundant compound. A 34:2 species was identified in PA, phosphatidylcholine (PC), phosphatidylinositol (PI), and phosphatidylethanolamine (PE). The identification of lipid phosphorylation by kinases was revealed by the presence of the phosphorylated lipids. PA was metabolized to diacylglycerol pyrophosphate (DGPP) by phosphatidic acid kinase (PAK). This work establishes a correlation between lipid fatty acid composition and lipid metabolism enzymes at the beginning of tuber formation and is the first report of PAK activity in the early events of potato tuber formation.
PMCID: PMC3580764  PMID: 22142228
Solanum tuberosum; potato; electrospray ionization tandem mass spectrometry; phospholipid; galactolipid; kinase
22.  Lipidomic Analysis of Extracellular Vesicles from the Pathogenic Phase of Paracoccidioides brasiliensis 
PLoS ONE  2012;7(6):e39463.
Fungal extracellular vesicles are able to cross the cell wall and transport molecules that help in nutrient acquisition, cell defense, and modulation of the host defense machinery.
Methodology/Principal Findings
Here we present a detailed lipidomic analysis of extracellular vesicles released by Paracoccidioides brasiliensis at the yeast pathogenic phase. We compared data of two representative isolates, Pb3 and Pb18, which have distinct virulence profiles and phylogenetic background. Vesicle lipids were fractionated into different classes and analyzed by either electrospray ionization- or gas chromatography-mass spectrometry. We found two species of monohexosylceramide and 33 phospholipid species, including phosphatidylcholine, phosphatidylethanolamine, phosphatidic acid, phosphatidylserine, phosphatidylinositol, and phosphatidylglycerol. Among the phospholipid-bound fatty acids in extracellular vesicles, C181 predominated in Pb3, whereas C18:2 prevailed in Pb18. The prevalent sterol in Pb3 and Pb18 vesicles was brassicasterol, followed by ergosterol and lanosterol. Inter-isolate differences in sterol composition were observed, and also between extracellular vesicles and whole cells.
The extensive lipidomic analysis of extracellular vesicles from two P. brasiliensis isolates will help to understand the composition of these fungal components/organelles and will hopefully be useful to study their biogenesis and role in host-pathogen interactions.
PMCID: PMC3382159  PMID: 22745761
23.  The yeast lipin orthologue Pah1p is important for biogenesis of lipid droplets 
The Journal of Cell Biology  2011;192(6):1043-1055.
Pah1p promotes lipid droplet assembly independent of its role in triacylglycerol synthesis.
Lipins are phosphatidate phosphatases that generate diacylglycerol (DAG). In this study, we report that yeast lipin, Pah1p, controls the formation of cytosolic lipid droplets. Disruption of PAH1 resulted in a 63% decrease in droplet number, although total neutral lipid levels did not change. This was accompanied by an accumulation of neutral lipids in the endoplasmic reticulum (ER). The droplet biogenesis defect was not a result of alterations in neutral lipid ratios. No droplets were visible in the absence of both PAH1 and steryl acyltransferases when grown in glucose medium, even though the strain produces as much triacylglycerol as wild type. The requirement of PAH1 for normal droplet formation can be bypassed by a knockout of DGK1. Nem1p, the activator of Pah1p, localizes to a single punctum per cell on the ER that is usually next to a droplet, suggesting that it is a site of droplet assembly. Overall, this study provides strong evidence that DAG generated by Pah1p is important for droplet biogenesis.
PMCID: PMC3063132  PMID: 21422231
24.  Viability of an Escherichia coli pgsA Null Mutant Lacking Detectable Phosphatidylglycerol and Cardiolipin 
Journal of Bacteriology  2000;182(2):371-376.
Phosphatidylglycerol, the most abundant acidic phospholipid in Escherichia coli, has been considered to play specific roles in various cellular processes and is believed to be essential for cell viability. It is functionally replaced in some cases by cardiolipin, another abundant acidic phospholipid derived from phosphatidylglycerol. However, we now show that a null pgsA mutant is viable, if the major outer membrane lipoprotein is deficient. The pgsA gene normally encodes phosphatidylglycerophosphate synthase that catalyzes the committed step in the biosynthesis of these acidic phospholipids. In the mutant, the activity of this enzyme and both phosphatidylglycerol and cardiolipin were not detected (less than 0.01% of total phospholipid, both below the detection limit), although phosphatidic acid, an acidic biosynthetic precursor, accumulated (4.0%). Nonetheless, the null mutant grew almost normally in rich media. In low-osmolarity media and minimal media, however, it could not grow. It did not grow at temperatures over 40°C, explaining the previous inability to construct a null pgsA mutant (W. Xia and W. Dowhan, Proc. Natl. Acad. Sci. USA 92:783–787, 1995). Phosphatidylglycerol and cardiolipin are therefore nonessential for cell viability or basic life functions. This notion allows us to formulate a working model that defines the physiological functions of acidic phospholipids in E. coli and explains the suppressing effect of lipoprotein deficiency.
PMCID: PMC94285  PMID: 10629182
25.  Enhanced membrane protein expression by engineering increased intracellular membrane production 
Membrane protein research is frequently hampered by the low natural abundance of these proteins in cells and typically relies on recombinant gene expression. Different expression systems, like mammalian cells, insect cells, bacteria and yeast are being used, but very few research efforts have been directed towards specific host cell customization for enhanced expression of membrane proteins. Here we show that by increasing the intracellular membrane production by interfering with a key enzymatic step of lipid synthesis, enhanced expression of membrane proteins in yeast is achieved.
We engineered the oleotrophic yeast, Yarrowia lipolytica, by deleting the phosphatidic acid phosphatase, PAH1, which led to massive proliferation of endoplasmic reticulum (ER) membranes. For all eight tested representatives of different integral membrane protein families, we obtained enhanced protein accumulation levels and in some cases enhanced proteolytic integrity in the ∆pah1 strain. We analysed the adenosine A2AR G-protein coupled receptor case in more detail and found that concomitant induction of the unfolded protein response in the ∆pah1 strain enhanced the specific ligand binding activity of the receptor. These data indicate an improved quality control mechanism for membrane proteins accumulating in yeast cells with proliferated ER.
We conclude that redirecting the metabolic flux of fatty acids away from triacylglycerol- and sterylester-storage towards membrane phospholipid synthesis by PAH1 gene inactivation, provides a valuable approach to enhance eukaryotic membrane protein production. Complementary to this improvement in membrane protein quantity, UPR co-induction further enhances the quality of the membrane protein in terms of its proper folding and biological activity. Importantly, since these pathways are conserved in all eukaryotes, it will be of interest to investigate similar engineering approaches in other cell types of biotechnological interest, such as insect cells and mammalian cells.
PMCID: PMC3878919  PMID: 24321035

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