Long chain acyl-CoA synthetase 1 (ACSL1) contributes 50 to 90% of total ACSL activity in liver, adipose tissue, and heart and appears to direct the use of long chain fatty acids for energy. Although the functional importance of ACSL1 is becoming clear, little is understood about its post-translational regulation. In order to investigate the post-translational modifications of ACSL1 under different physiological conditions, we overexpressed ACSL1 in hepatocytes, brown adipocytes, and 3T3-L1 differentiated adipocytes, treated these cells with different hormones, and analyzed the resulting phosphorylated and acetylated amino acids by mass spectrometry. We then compared these results to the post-translational modifications observed in vivo in liver and brown adipose tissue after mice were fasted or exposed to a cold environment. We identified universal N-terminal acetylation, 15 acetylated lysines, and 25 phosphorylation sites on ACSL1. Several unique acetylation and phosphorylation sites occurred under conditions in which fatty acid β-oxidation is normally enhanced. Thirteen of the acetylated lysines had not previously been identified, and none of the phosphorylation sites had been previously identified. Site-directed mutagenesis was used to introduce mutations at three potential acetylation and phosphorylation sites believed to be important for ACSL1 function. At the ATP/AMP binding site and at a highly conserved site near the C terminus, modifications of Ser278 or Lys676, respectively, totally inhibited ACSL1 activity. In contrast, mutations of Lys285 that mimicked acetylation (Lys285Ala and Lys285Gln) reduced ACSL activity, whereas full activity was retained by Lys285Arg, suggesting that acetylation of Lys285 would be likely to decrease ACSL1 activity. These results indicate that ACSL1 is highly modified post-translationally. Several of these modifications would be expected to alter enzymatic function, but others may affect protein stability or protein-protein interactions.
Fatty acid metabolism; Beta-oxidation; Post-translational modification; Triacylglycerol synthesis; phosphorylation; Acetylation
Lipid droplets (LDs) store metabolic energy and membrane lipid precursors. With excess metabolic energy, cells synthesize triacylglycerol (TG) and form LDs that grow dramatically. It is unclear how TG synthesis relates to LD formation and growth. Here, we identify two LD subpopulations: smaller LDs of relatively constant size, and LDs that grow larger. The latter population contains isoenzymes for each step of TG synthesis. Glycerol-3-phosphate acyltransferase 4 (GPAT4), which catalyzes the first and rate-limiting step, relocalizes from the endoplasmic reticulum (ER) to a subset of forming LDs, where it becomes stably associated. ER-to-LD targeting of GPAT4 and other LD-localized TG synthesis isozymes is required for LD growth. Key features of GPAT4 ER-to-LD targeting and function in LD growth are conserved between Drosophila and mammalian cells. Our results explain how TG synthesis is coupled with LD growth and identify two distinct LD subpopulations based on their capacity for localized TG synthesis.
De novo glycerolipid synthesis begins with the acylation of glycerol-3 phosphate catalyzed by glycerol-3-phosphate acyltransferase (GPAT). In mammals, at least four GPAT isoforms have been described, differing in their cell and tissue locations and sensitivity to sulfhydryl reagents. In this work we show that mitochondrial GPAT2 overexpression in CHO-K1 cells increased TAG content and both GPAT and AGPAT activities 2-fold with arachidonoyl-CoA as a substrate, indicating specificity for this fatty acid.
Methods and Results
Incubation of GPAT2-transfected CHO-K1 cells with [1-14C]arachidonate for 3 h increased incorporation of [14C]arachidonate into TAG by 40%. Consistently, arachidonic acid was present in the TAG fraction of cells that overexpressed GPAT2, but not in control cells, corroborating GPAT2's role in synthesizing TAG that is rich in arachidonic acid. In rat and mouse testis, Gpat2 mRNA was expressed only in primary spermatocytes; the protein was also detected in late stages of spermatogenesis. During rat sexual maturation, both the testicular TAG content and the arachidonic acid content in the TAG fraction peaked at 30 d, matching the highest expression of Gpat2 mRNA and protein.
These results strongly suggest that GPAT2 expression is linked to arachidonoyl-CoA incorporation into TAG in spermatogenic germ cells.
The ability of chronic valproate (VPA) to reduce arachidonic acid (AA) turnover in brain phospholipids of unanesthetized rats has been ascribed to its inhibition of acyl-CoA synthetase (Acsl)-mediated activation of AA to AA-CoA. Our aim was to identify a rat Acsl isoenzyme that could be inhibited by VPA in vitro.
Rat Acsl3-, Acsl6v1- and Acsl6v2-, and Acsl4-flag proteins were expressed in E. coli, and the ability of VPA to inhibit their activation of long-chain fatty acids to acyl-CoA was estimated using Michaelis-Menten kinetics.
VPA uncompetitively inhibited Acsl4-mediated conversion of AA and of docosahexaenoic (DHA) but not of palmitic acid to acyl-CoA, but did not affect AA conversion by Acsl3, Acsl6v1 or Acsl6v2. Acsl4-mediated conversion of AA to AA-CoA showed substrate inhibition and had a 10-times higher catalytic efficiency than did conversion of DHA to DHA-CoA. Butyrate, octanoate, or lithium did not inhibit AA activation by Acsl4.
VPA’s ability to inhibit Acsl4 activation of AA and of DHA to their respective acyl-CoAs, related to the higher catalytic efficiency of AA than DHA conversion, may account for VPA’s selective reduction of AA turnover in rat brain phospholipids, and contribute to VPA’s efficacy against bipolar disorder.
bipolar disorder; valproate; arachidonic acid; acyl-CoA synthetase; mood stabilizer; Acsl4; brain; rat
Glycerol-3-phosphate acyltransferase-1 (GPAT1), which is located on the outer mitochondrial membrane comprises up to 30% of total GPAT activity in the heart. It is one of at least four mammalian GPAT isoforms known to catalyze the initial, committed, and rate limiting step of glycerolipid synthesis. Because excess triacylglycerol (TAG) accumulates in cardiomyocytes in obesity and type 2 diabetes, we determined whether lack of GPAT1 would alter the synthesis of heart TAG and phospholipids after a 2-week high sucrose diet or a 3-month high fat diet. Even in the absence of hypertriglyceridemia, TAG increased 2-fold with both diets in hearts from wildtype mice. In contrast, hearts from Gpat1−/− mice contained 20–80% less TAG than the wildtype controls. In addition, hearts from Gpat1−/− mice fed the high-sucrose diet incorporate 60% less [14C]palmitate into heart TAG as compared to wildtype mice. Because GPAT1 prefers 16:0-CoA to other long chain acyl-CoA substrates, we determined the fatty acid composition of heart phospholipids. Compared to wildtype littermate controls, hearts from Gpat1−/− mice contained a lower amount of 16:0 in phosphatidylcholine, phosphatidylethanolamine, and phosphatidylserine/phosphatidylinositol and significantly more C20:4n6. Phosphatidylcholine and phosphatidylethanolamine from Gpat1−/− hearts also contained higher amounts of 18:0 and 18:1. Although at least three other GPAT isoforms are expressed in the heart, our data suggest that GPAT1 contributes significantly to cardiomyocyte TAG synthesis during lipogenic or high fat diets and influences the incorporation of 20:4n6 into heart phospholipids.
obesity; type 2 diabetes; lipotoxicity; diabetic cardiomyopathy; arachidonic acid
Lipid droplets (LDs) are intracellular organelles that store neutral lipids within cells. Over the last two decades there has been a dramatic growth in our understanding of LD biology and, in parallel, our understanding of the role of LDs in health and disease. In its simplest form, the LD regulates the storage and hydrolysis of neutral lipids, including triacylglycerol and/or cholesterol esters. It is becoming increasingly evident that alterations in the regulation of LD physiology and metabolism influence the risk of developing metabolic diseases such as diabetes. In this review we provide an update on the role of LD-associated proteins and LDs in metabolic disease.
In analyzing the sequence tags for mutant mouse embryonic stem (ES) cell lines in BayGenomics (a mouse gene-trapping resource), we identified a novel gene, Agpat6, with sequence similarities to previously characterized glycerolipid acyltransferases. Agpat6’s closest family member is another novel gene that we have provisionally designated Agpat8. Both Agpat6 and Agpat8 are conserved from plants, nematodes, and flies to mammals. AGPAT6, which is predicted to contain multiple membrane-spanning helices, is found exclusively within the endoplasmic reticulum in mammalian cells. To gain insights into the in vivo importance of Agpat6, we used the Agpat6 ES cell line from BayGenomics to create Agpat6-deficient (Agpat6−/−) mice. Agpat6−/− mice lacked full-length Agpat6 transcripts, as judged by northern blots. One of the most striking phenotypes of Agpat6−/− mice was a defect in lactation. Pups nursed by Agpat6−/− mothers die perinatally. Normally, Agpat6 is expressed at high levels in the mammary epithelium of breast tissue, but not in the surrounding adipose tissue. Histological studies revealed that the aveoli and ducts of Agpat6−/− lactating mammary glands were underdeveloped, and there was a dramatic decrease in size and number of lipid droplets within mammary epithelial cells and ducts. Also, the milk from Agpat6−/− mice was markedly depleted in diacylglycerols and triacylglycerols. Thus, we identified a novel glycerolipid acyltransferase of the endoplasmic reticulum, AGPAT6, which is crucial for the production of milk fat by the mammary gland.
LPAAT; acyltransferase; transacylase; milk fat
Long-chain acyl coenzyme A (acyl-CoA) synthetase isoform 1 (ACSL1) catalyzes the synthesis of acyl-CoA from long-chain fatty acids and contributes the majority of cardiac long-chain acyl-CoA synthetase activity. To understand its functional role in the heart, we studied mice lacking ACSL1 globally (Acsl1T−/−) and mice lacking ACSL1 in heart ventricles (Acsl1H−/−) at different times. Compared to littermate controls, heart ventricular ACSL activity in Acsl1T−/− mice was reduced more than 90%, acyl-CoA content was 65% lower, and long-chain acyl-carnitine content was 80 to 90% lower. The rate of [14C]palmitate oxidation in both heart homogenate and mitochondria was 90% lower than in the controls, and the maximal rates of [14C]pyruvate and [14C]glucose oxidation were each 20% higher. The mitochondrial area was 54% greater than in the controls with twice as much mitochondrial DNA, and the mRNA abundance of Pgc1α and Errα increased by 100% and 41%, respectively. Compared to the controls, Acsl1T−/− and Acsl1H−/− hearts were hypertrophied, and the phosphorylation of S6 kinase, a target of mammalian target of rapamycin (mTOR) kinase, increased 5-fold. Our data suggest that ACSL1 is required to synthesize the acyl-CoAs that are oxidized by the heart, and that without ACSL1, diminished fatty acid (FA) oxidation and compensatory catabolism of glucose and amino acids lead to mTOR activation and cardiac hypertrophy without lipid accumulation or immediate cardiac dysfunction.
Acyl-CoA synthetase-1 (ACSL) contributes 80% of total ACSL activity in adipose tissue and was believed to be essential for the synthesis of triacylglycerol. We predicted that an adipose-specific knockout of ACSL1 (Acsl1A−/−) would be lipodystrophic, but, compared to controls, Acsl1A−/− mice had 30% greater fat mass when fed a low fat diet, and gained weight normally when fed a high fat diet. Acsl1A−/− adipocytes incorporated [14C]oleate into glycerolipids normally, but fatty acid oxidation rates were 50–90% lower than in control adipocytes and mitochondria. Acsl1A−/− mice were markedly cold intolerant, and β3-adrenergic agonists did not increase oxygen consumption, despite normal adrenergic signaling in brown adipose tissue. The reduced adipose FA oxidation and marked cold intolerance of Acsl1A−/− mice indicate that normal activation of FA for oxidation in adipose tissue in vivo requires ACSL1. Thus, ACSL1 has a specific function in directing the metabolic partitioning of fatty acids towards β-oxidation.
fatty acid oxidation; cold thermogenesis; brown adipose; triacylglycerol
Hepatic steatosis is strongly associated with insulin resistance, but a causal role has not been established. In ob/ob mice, sterol regulatory element binding protein 1 (SREBP1) mediates the induction of steatosis by upregulating target genes, including glycerol-3-phosphate acyltransferase-1 (Gpat1), which catalyzes the first and committed step in the pathway of glycerolipid synthesis. We asked whether ob/ob mice lacking Gpat1 would have reduced hepatic steatosis and improved insulin sensitivity.
RESEARCH DESIGN AND METHODS
Hepatic lipids, insulin sensitivity, and hepatic insulin signaling were compared in lean (Lep+/?), lean-Gpat1−/−, ob/ob (Lepob/ob), and ob/ob-Gpat1−/− mice.
Compared with ob/ob mice, the lack of Gpat1 in ob/ob mice reduced hepatic triacylglycerol (TAG) and diacylglycerol (DAG) content 59 and 74%, respectively, but increased acyl-CoA levels. Despite the reduction in hepatic lipids, fasting glucose and insulin concentrations did not improve, and insulin tolerance remained impaired. In both ob/ob and ob/ob-Gpat1−/− mice, insulin resistance was accompanied by elevated hepatic protein kinase C-ε activation and blunted insulin-stimulated Akt activation.
These results suggest that decreasing hepatic steatosis alone does not improve insulin resistance, and that factors other than increased hepatic DAG and TAG contribute to hepatic insulin resistance in this genetically obese model. They also show that the SREBP1-mediated induction of hepatic steatosis in ob/ob mice requires Gpat1.
Lysophosphatidic acid (LPA) is an agonist for peroxisome proliferator activated receptor-γ (PPARγ). Although glycerol-3-phosphate acyltransferase-1 (GPAT1) esterifies glycerol-3-phosphate to form LPA, an intermediate in the de novo synthesis of glycerolipids, it has been assumed that LPA synthesized by this route does not have a signaling role. The availability of Chinese Hamster Ovary (CHO) cells that stably overexpress GPAT1, allowed us to analyze PPARγ activation in the presence of LPA produced as an intracellular intermediate. LPA levels in CHO-GPAT1 cells were 6-fold higher than in wild-type CHO cells, and the mRNA abundance of CD36, a PPARγ target, was 2-fold higher. Transactivation assays showed that PPARγ activity was higher in the cells that overexpressed GPAT1. PPARγ activity was enhanced further in CHO-GPAT1 cells treated with the PPARγ ligand troglitazone. Extracellular LPA, phosphatidic acid (PA) or a membrane-permeable diacylglycerol had no effect, showing that PPARγ had been activated by LPA generated intracellularly. Transient transfection of a vector expressing 1-acylglycerol-3-phosphate acyltransferase-2, which converts endogenous LPA to PA, markedly reduced PPARγ activity, as did over-expressing diacylglycerol kinase, which converts DAG to PA, indicating that PA could be a potent inhibitor of PPARγ. These data suggest that LPA synthesized via the glycerol-3-phosphate pathway can activate PPARγ and that intermediates of de novo glycerolipid synthesis regulate gene expression.
Although the underlying causes of insulin resistance have not been completely delineated, in most analyses, a recurring theme is dysfunctional metabolism of fatty acids. Because the conversion of fatty acids to activated acyl-CoAs is the first and essential step in the metabolism of long-chain fatty acid metabolism, interest has grown in the synthesis of acyl-CoAs, their contribution to the formation of signaling molecules like ceramide and diacylglycerol, and their direct effects on cell function. In this review, we cover the evidence for the involvement of acyl-CoAs in what has been termed lipotoxicity, the regulation of the acyl-CoA synthetases, and the emerging functional roles of acyl-CoAs in the major tissues that contribute to insulin resistance and lipotoxicity, adipose, liver, heart and pancreas.
Chanarin-Dorfman syndrome (CDS) is a rare autosomal recessive disorder characterized by nonbullous congenital ichthyosiform erythroderma (NCIE) and an intracellular accumulation of triacylglycerol (TG) droplets in most tissues. The clinical phenotype involves multiple organs and systems, including liver, eyes, ears, skeletal muscle and central nervous system (CNS). Mutations in ABHD5/CGI58 gene are associated with CDS.
Eight CDS patients belonging to six different families from Mediterranean countries were enrolled for genetic study. Molecular analysis of the ABHD5 gene included the sequencing of the 7 coding exons and of the putative 5' regulatory regions, as well as reverse transcript-polymerase chain reaction analysis and sequencing of normal and aberrant ABHD5 cDNAs.
Five different mutations were identified, four of which were novel, including two splice-site mutations (c.47+1G>A and c.960+5G>A) and two large deletions (c.898_*320del and c.662-1330_773+46del). All the reported mutations are predicted to be pathogenic because they lead to an early stop codon or a frameshift producing a premature termination of translation. While nonsense, missense, frameshift and splice-site mutations have been identified in CDS patients, large genomic deletions have not previously been described.
These results emphasize the need for an efficient approach for genomic deletion screening to ensure an accurate molecular diagnosis of CDS. Moreover, in spite of intensive molecular screening, no mutations were identified in one patient with a confirmed clinical diagnosis of CDS, appointing to genetic heterogeneity of the syndrome.
Four homologous isoforms of glycerol-3-phosphate acyltransferase (GPAT), each the product of a separate gene, catalyze the synthesis of lysophosphatidic acid from glycerol-3-phosphate and long-chain acyl-CoA. This step initiates the synthesis of all the glycerolipids and evidence from gain-of-function and loss-of-function studies in mice and in cell culture strongly suggests that each isoform contributes to the synthesis of triacylglycerol. Much work remains to fully delineate the regulation of each GPAT isoform and its individual role in triacylglycerol synthesis.
Glycerolipid; phospholipid; membrane; lipid droplet; lysophosphatidic acid; diacylglycerol
Thirteen homologous proteins comprise the long-chain acyl-CoA synthetase (ACSL), fatty acid transport protein (FATP), and bubblegum (ACSBG) subfamilies that activate long-chain and very-long-chain fatty acids to form acyl-CoAs. Gain- and loss-of-function studies show marked differences in the ability of these enzymes to channel fatty acids into different pathways of complex lipid synthesis. Further, the ability of the ACSLs and FATPs to enhance cellular FA uptake does not always require these proteins to be present on the plasma membrane; instead, FA uptake can be increased by enhancing its conversion to acyl-CoA and its metabolism in downstream pathways. Since altered fatty acid metabolism is a hallmark of numerous metabolic diseases and pathological conditions, the ACSL, FATP and ACSBG isoforms are likely to play important roles in disease etiology.
Elucidation of the metabolic pathways of triacylglycerol (TAG) synthesis is critical to the understanding of chronic metabolic disorders such as obesity, cardiovascular disease, and diabetes. sn-Glycerol-3-phosphate acyltransferase (GPAT) and sn-1-acylglycerol-3-phosphate acyltransferase (AGPAT) catalyze the first and second steps in de novo TAG synthesis. AGPAT6 is one of eight AGPAT isoforms identified through sequence homology, but the enzyme activity for AGPAT6 has not been confirmed. We found that in liver and brown adipose tissue from Agpat6-deficient (Agpat6−/−) mice, N-ethylmaleimide (NEM)-sensitive GPAT specific activity was 65% lower than in tissues from wild-type mice, but AGPAT specific activity was similar. Overexpression of Agpat6 in Cos-7 cells increased an NEM-sensitive GPAT specific activity, but AGPAT specific activity was not increased. Agpat6 and Gpat1 overexpression in Cos-7 cells increased the incorporation of [14C]oleate into diacylglycerol (DAG) or into DAG and TAG, respectively, suggesting that the lysophosphatidic acid, phosphatidic acid, and DAG intermediates initiated by each of these isoforms lie in different cellular pools. Together, these data show that “Agpat6−/− mice” are actually deficient in a novel NEM-sensitive GPAT, GPAT4, and indicate that the alterations in lipid metabolism in adipose tissue, liver, and mammary epithelium of these mice are attributable to the absence of GPAT4
triacylglycerol; phospholipid; lipodystrophy; acyl-coenzyme A; steatosis; sn-l-acylglycerol-3-phosphate O-acyltransferase-deficient mice
Rosiglitazone is an insulin-sensitizing agent that has recently been shown to exert beneficial effects on atherosclerosis. In addition to peroxisome proliferator–activated receptor (PPAR)-γ, rosiglitazone can affect other targets, such as directly inhibiting recombinant long-chain acyl-CoA synthetase (ACSL)-4 activity. Because it is unknown if ACSL4 is expressed in vascular cells involved in atherosclerosis, we investigated the ability of rosiglitazone to inhibit ACSL activity and fatty acid partitioning in human and murine arterial smooth muscle cells (SMCs) and macrophages. Human and murine SMCs and human macrophages expressed Acsl4, and rosiglitazone inhibited Acsl activity in these cells. Furthermore, rosiglitazone acutely inhibited partitioning of fatty acids into phospholipids in human SMCs and inhibited fatty acid partitioning into diacylglycerol and triacylglycerol in human SMCs and macrophages through a PPAR-γ–independent mechanism. Conversely, murine macrophages did not express ACSL4, and rosiglitazone did not inhibit ACSL activity in these cells, nor did it affect acute fatty acid partitioning into cellular lipids. Thus, rosiglitazone inhibits ACSL activity and fatty acid partitioning in human and murine SMCs and in human macrophages through a PPAR-γ–independent mechanism likely to be mediated by ACSL4 inhibition. Therefore, rosiglitazone might alter the biological effects of fatty acids in these cells and in atherosclerosis.
Glycerol-3-phosphate acyltransferase (GPAT) initiates the synthesis of triacylglycerol and phospholipids and, in the process, regulates the formation of several lipid metabolites known to be intracellular signaling molecules. The recent identification of a new GPAT isoform (Cao et al., 2006) suggests a role for GPAT isoforms in nutrient-mediated signaling.
Fatty liver is commonly associated with insulin resistance and type 2 diabetes, but it is unclear whether triacylglycerol accumulation or an excess flux of lipid intermediates in the pathway of triacyglycerol synthesis are sufficient to cause insulin resistance in the absence of genetic or diet-induced obesity. To determine whether increased glycerolipid flux can, by itself, cause hepatic insulin resistance, we used an adenoviral construct to overexpress glycerol-sn-3-phosphate acyltransferase-1 (Ad-GPAT1), the committed step in de novo triacylglycerol synthesis. After 5–7 days, food intake, body weight, and fat pad weight did not differ between Ad-GPAT1 and Ad-enhanced green fluorescent protein control rats, but the chow-fed Ad-GPAT1 rats developed fatty liver, hyperlipidemia, and insulin resistance. Liver was the predominant site of insulin resistance; Ad-GPAT1 rats had 2.5-fold higher hepatic glucose output than controls during a hyperinsulinemic-euglycemic clamp. Hepatic diacylglycerol and lysophosphatidate were elevated in Ad-GPAT1 rats, suggesting a role for these lipid metabolites in the development of hepatic insulin resistance, and hepatic protein kinase Cε was activated, providing a potential mechanism for insulin resistance. Ad-GPAT1-treated rats had 50% lower hepatic NF-κB activity and no difference in expression of tumor necrosis factor-α and interleukin-β, consistent with hepatic insulin resistance in the absence of increased hepatic inflammation. Glycogen synthesis and uptake of 2-deoxyglucose were reduced in skeletal muscle, suggesting mild peripheral insulin resistance associated with a higher content of skeletal muscle triacylglycerol. These results indicate that increased flux through the pathway of hepatic de novo triacylglycerol synthesis can cause hepatic and systemic insulin resistance in the absence of obesity or a lipogenic diet.
GPAT1, one of four known glycerol-3-phosphate acyltransferase isoforms, is located on the mitochondrial outer membrane, allowing reciprocal regulation with carnitine palmitoyltransferase-1. GPAT1 is upregulated transcriptionally by insulin and SREBP-1c and downregulated acutely by AMP-activated protein kinase, consistent with a role in triacylglycerol synthesis. Knockout and overexpression studies suggest that GPAT1 is critical for the development of hepatic steatosis and that steatosis initiated by overexpression of GPAT1 causes hepatic, and perhaps also peripheral, insulin resistance. Future questions include the function of GPAT1 in relation to the other GPAT isoforms and whether the lipid intermediates synthesized by GPAT and downstream enzymes in the pathway of glycerolipid biosynthesis participate in intracellular signaling pathways.
insulin resistance; diacylglycerol; lysophosphatidate; sterol regulatory element binding protein; hepatic steatosis
The alteration of the choline metabolite profile is a well-established characteristic of cancer cells. In colorectal cancer (CRC), phosphatidylcholine is the most prominent phospholipid. In the present study, we report that lysophosphatidylcholine acyltransferase 1 (LPCAT1; NM_024830.3), the enzyme that converts lysophosphatidylcholine into phosphatidylcholine, was highly overexpressed in colorectal adenocarcinomas when compared to normal mucosas. Our microarray transcription profiling study showed a significant (p<10−8) transcript overexpression in 168 colorectal adenocarcinomas when compared to ten normal mucosas. Immunohistochemical analysis of colon tumors with a polyclonal antibody to LPCAT1 confirmed the upregulation of the LPCAT1 protein. Overexpression of LPCAT1 in COS7 cells localized the protein to the endoplasmic reticulum and the mitochondria and increased LPCAT1 specific activity 38-fold. In cultured cells, overexpressed LPCAT1 enhanced the incorporation of [14C]palmitate into phosphatidylcholine. COS7 cells transfected with LPCAT1 showed no growth rate alteration, in contrast to the colon cancer cell line SW480, which significantly (p<10−5) increased its growth rate by 17%. We conclude that LPCAT1 may contribute to total choline metabolite accumulation via phosphatidylcholine remodeling, thereby altering the CRC lipid profile, a characteristic of malignancy.
Colorectal cancer; Lysophosphatidic acyltransferase; Microarrays; Lipid metabolism; Phosphatidylcholine
Glycerol-3-phosphate acyltransferase (GPAT) catalyzes the initial and rate-limiting step in glycerolipid synthesis. Several mammalian GPAT activities have been recognized, including N-ethylmaleimide (NEM)-sensitive isoforms in microsomes and mitochondria and an NEM-resistant form in mitochondrial outer membrane (GPAT1). We have now cloned a second mitochondrial isoform, GPAT2 from mouse testis. The open reading frame encodes a protein of 798 amino acids with a calculated mass of 88.8 kDa and 27% amino acid identity to GPAT1. Testis mRNA expression was 50-fold higher than in liver or brown adipose tissue, but the specific activity of NEM-sensitive GPAT in testis mitochondria was similar to that in liver. When Cos-7 cells were transiently transfected with GPAT2, NEM-sensitive GPAT activity increased 30%. Confocal microscopy confirmed a mitochondrial location. Incubation of GPAT2-transfected Cos-7 cells with trace (3 μM; 0.25μCi) [1-14C]oleate for 6 h increased incorporation of [14C]oleate into TAG 84%. In contrast, incorporation into phospholipid species was lower than in control cells. Although a polyclonal antibody raised against full-length GPAT1 detected an ∼89 kDa band in liver and testis from GPAT1 null mice and both 89 and 80 kDa bands in BAT from the knockout animals, the GPAT2 protein expressed in Cos-7 cells was only 80 kDa. In vitro translation showed a single product of 89 kDa. Unlike GPAT1, GPAT2 mRNA abundance in liver was not altered by fasting or refeeding. GPAT2 is likely to have a specialized function in testis.
The absence of mouse mitochondrial glycerol-3-phosphate acyltransferase-1 (Gpat1-/-) increases the amount of arachidonate in liver phospholipids and increases β-hydroxybutyrate and acyl-carnitines, suggesting an elevated rate of liver fatty acid oxidation. We asked whether these alterations might increase reactive oxygen species (ROS), apoptosis, or hepatocyte proliferation. Compared to wildtype controls, liver mitochondria from Gpat1-/- mice showed a 20% increase in the rate of ROS production and a markedly increased sensitivity to the induction of the mitochondrial permeability transition. Mitochondrial phosphatidylethanolamine and phosphatidylcholine from Gpat1-/- liver contained 21% and 67% more arachidonate, respectively, than wildtype controls, and higher amounts of 4-hydroxynonenal, a product of arachidonate peroxidation. Oxidative stress was associated with an increase in apoptosis, and with 3-fold and 15-fold higher TUNEL positive cells in liver from young and old Gpat1-/- mice, respectively, compared to age-matched controls. Compared to controls, bromodeoxyuridine labeling was 50% and 7-fold higher in livers from young and old Gpat1-/- mice, respectively, but fewer glutathione-S-transferase positive cells were present. Thus, Gpat1-/- liver exhibits increased oxidative stress and sensitivity of the mitochondrial permeability transition pore, and a balanced increase in apoptosis and proliferation.