Cloning and expression of a human choline/ethanolaminephosphotransferase: synthesis of phosphatidylcholine and phosphatidylethanolamine

Biochem J. 1999 Apr 15;339 ( Pt 2)(Pt 2):291-8.


Cholinephosphotransferase catalyses the final step in the synthesis of phosphatidylcholine (PtdCho) via the Kennedy pathway by the transfer of phosphocholine from CDP-choline to diacylglycerol. Ethanolaminephosphotransferase catalyses an analogous reaction with CDP-ethanolamine as the phosphobase donor for the synthesis of phosphatidylethanolamine (PtdEtn). Together these two enzyme activities determine both the site of synthesis and the fatty acyl composition of PtdCho and PtdEtn synthesized de novo. A human choline/ethanolaminephosphotransferase cDNA (hCEPT1) was cloned, expressed and characterized. Northern blot analysis revealed one hCEPT1 2.3 kb transcript that was ubiquitous and not enriched, with respect to actin, in any particular cell type. The open reading frame predicts a protein (hCEPT1p) of 416 amino acid residues with a molecular mass of 46550 Da containing seven membrane-spanning domains. A predicted amphipathic helix resides within the active site of the enzyme with the final two aspartic residues of the CDP-alcohol phosphotransferase motif, DG(X)2AR(X)8G(X)3D(X)3D, positioned within this helix. hCEPT1p was successfully expressed in a full-length, active form in Saccharomyces cerevisiae cells devoid of endogenous cholinephosphotransferase or ethanolaminephosphotransferase activities (HJ091, cpt1::LEU2 ept1-). In vitro, hCEPT1p displayed broad substrate specificity, utilizing both CDP-choline and CDP-ethanolamine as phosphobase donors to a broad range of diacylglycerols, resulting in the synthesis of both PtdCho and PtdEtn. In vivo, S. cerevisiae cells (HJ091, cpt1::LEU2 ept1-) expressing hCEPT1 efficiently incorporated both radiolabelled choline and ethanolamine into phospholipids, demonstrating that hCEPT1p has the ability to synthesize both choline- and ethanolamine- containing phospholipids in vitro and in vivo.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Amino Acid Sequence
  • Cloning, Molecular
  • DNA, Complementary
  • Humans
  • Kinetics
  • Molecular Sequence Data
  • Phosphatidylcholines / biosynthesis*
  • Phosphatidylethanolamines / biosynthesis*
  • Protein Structure, Secondary
  • RNA, Messenger / genetics
  • RNA, Messenger / metabolism
  • Saccharomyces cerevisiae / genetics
  • Sequence Homology, Amino Acid
  • Transferases (Other Substituted Phosphate Groups) / chemistry
  • Transferases (Other Substituted Phosphate Groups) / genetics*


  • DNA, Complementary
  • Phosphatidylcholines
  • Phosphatidylethanolamines
  • RNA, Messenger
  • Transferases (Other Substituted Phosphate Groups)
  • choline-ethanolaminephosphotransferase

Associated data

  • GENBANK/AF068302