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1.  Mice deficient in mitochondrial glycerol-3-phosphate acyltransferase-1 have diminished myocardial triacylglycerol accumulation during lipogenic diet and altered phospholipid fatty acid composition 
Biochimica et Biophysica Acta  2008;1781(6-7):352-358.
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.
PMCID: PMC3285559  PMID: 18522808
obesity; type 2 diabetes; lipotoxicity; diabetic cardiomyopathy; arachidonic acid
2.  Glycerol-3-phosphate acyltransferases: Rate limiting enzymes of triacylglycerol biosynthesis 
Biochimica et biophysica acta  2008;1791(6):501-506.
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.
PMCID: PMC2737689  PMID: 19038363
Glycerolipid; phospholipid; membrane; lipid droplet; lysophosphatidic acid; diacylglycerol
3.  Identification of a novel sn-glycerol-3-phosphate acyltransferase isoform, GPAT4, as the enzyme deficient in Agpat6−/− mice 
Journal of lipid research  2008;49(4):823.
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
PMCID: PMC2819352  PMID: 18192653
triacylglycerol; phospholipid; lipodystrophy; acyl-coenzyme A; steatosis; sn-l-acylglycerol-3-phosphate O-acyltransferase-deficient mice
4.  Regulation of Triglyceride Metabolism II. Function of mitochondrial GPAT1 in the regulation of triacylglycerol biosynthesis and insulin action 
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.
PMCID: PMC2819211  PMID: 17158253
insulin resistance; diacylglycerol; lysophosphatidate; sterol regulatory element binding protein; hepatic steatosis
5.  Lysophosphatidylcholine acyltransferase 1 (LPCAT1) overexpression in human colorectal cancer 
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.
PMCID: PMC2614561  PMID: 18974965
Colorectal cancer; Lysophosphatidic acyltransferase; Microarrays; Lipid metabolism; Phosphatidylcholine
6.  Cloning and functional characterization of a novel mitochondrialN-ethylmaleimide-sensitive glycerol-3-phosphate acyltransferase (GPAT2) 
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.
PMCID: PMC2133398  PMID: 17689486
7.  Mutagenesis of rat acyl-CoA synthetase 4 indicates amino acids that contribute to fatty acid binding 
Biochimica et biophysica acta  2006;1771(1):119-125.
Although each of the five mammalian long-chain acyl-CoA synthetases (ACSL) can bind saturated and unsaturated fatty acids ranging from 12 to 22 carbons, ACSL4 prefers longer chain polyunsaturated fatty acids. In order to gain a better understanding of ACSL4 fatty acid binding, we based a mutagenesis approach on sequence alignments related to ttLC-FACS crystallized from Thermus thermophilus HB8. Four residues selected for mutagenesis corresponded to residues in ttLC-FACS that comprise the fatty acid binding pocket; the fifth residue aligned with a region thought to be involved in fatty acid selectivity of the Escherichia coli acyl-CoA synthetase, FadD. Changing an amino acid at the entry of the putative fatty acid binding pocket, G401L, resulted in an inactive enzyme. Mutating a residue near the pocket entry, L399M, did not significantly alter enzyme activity, but mutating a residue at the hydrophobic terminus of the pocket, S291Y, altered ACSL4’s preference for 20:5 and 22:6 and increased its apparent Km for ATP. Mutating a site in a region previously identified as important for fatty acid binding also altered activation of 20:4 and 20:5. These studies suggested that the preference of ACSL4 for long-chain polyunsaturated fatty acids can be modified by altering specific amino acid residues.
PMCID: PMC1828365  PMID: 17110164
acyl-CoA synthetase; polyunsaturated fatty acid; mutagenesis; fatty acid binding; kinetics; arachidonic acid
8.  Ontogeny of mRNA expression and activity of long-chain acyl-CoA synthetase (ACSL) isoforms in Mus musculus heart 
Biochimica et biophysica acta  2006;1771(1):75-82.
Long-chain acyl-CoA synthetases (ACSL) activate fatty acids (FA) and provide substrates for virtually every metabolic pathway that catabolizes FA or synthesizes complex lipids. We have hypothesized that each of the five cloned ACSL isoforms partitions FA towards specific downstream pathways. Adult heart expresses all five cloned ACSL isoforms, but their independent functional roles have not been elucidated. Studies implicate ACSL1 in both oxidative and lipid synthetic pathways. To clarify the functional role of ACSL1 and the other ACSL isoforms (3–6), we examined ACS specific activity and Acsl mRNA expression in the developing mouse heart which increases FA oxidative pathways for energy production after birth. Compared to the embryonic heart, ACS specific activity was 14-fold higher on post-natal day 1 (P1). On P1, as compared to the fetus, only Acsl1 mRNA increased, whereas transcripts for the other Acsl isoforms remained the same, suggesting that ACSL1 is the major isoform responsible for activating long-chain FA for myocardial oxidation after birth. In contrast, the mRNA abundance of Acsl3 was highest on E16, and decreased dramatically by P7, suggesting that ACSL3 may play a critical role during the development of the fetal heart. Our data support the hypothesis that each ACSL has a specific role in the channeling of FA towards distinct metabolic fates.
PMCID: PMC1797059  PMID: 17197235
fatty acid activation; heart ontogeny; heart fatty acid oxidation; heart lipid synthesis; heart phospholipid composition; ACO, acyl-CoA oxidase; ACS, acyl-CoA synthetase; ACSL and Acsl, long chain acyl-CoA synthetase protein and mRNA, respectively; CPT-1, carnitine palmitoyl transferase-1; DTT, dithiothreitol; E16 embryonic day 16; FA, fatty acid; GAPDH, glyceraldehyde-3-phosphate dehydrogenase; LCAD, long-chain acyl dehydrogenase; MCAD, medium-chain acyl dehydrogenase; P1, postnatal day 1; PPAR, peroxisome proliferator-activated receptor

Results 1-8 (8)