An unexpected requirement for phosphatidylethanolamine N-methyltransferase in the secretion of very low density lipoproteins

J Biol Chem. 2002 Nov 1;277(44):42358-65. doi: 10.1074/jbc.M204542200. Epub 2002 Aug 21.


Phosphatidylethanolamine N-methyltransferase (PEMT) catalyzes the conversion of phosphatidylethanolamine to phosphatidylcholine (PC). We investigated whether there was diminished secretion of lipoproteins from hepatocytes derived from mice that lacked PEMT (Pemt(-/-)) compared with Pemt(+/+) mice. Hepatocytes were incubated with 0.75 mm oleate, the media were harvested, and triacylglycerol (TG), PC, apolipoprotein (apo) B100, and apoB48 were isolated and quantified. Compared with hepatocytes from Pemt(+/+) mice, hepatocytes from Pemt(-/-) mice secreted 50% less TG, whereas secretion of PC was unaffected. Fractionation of the secreted lipoproteins on density gradients demonstrated that the decrease in TG was in the very low density lipoprotein (VLDL)/low density lipoprotein fractions. The secretion of apoB100 was decreased by approximately 70% in VLDLs/low density lipoproteins, whereas there was no significant decrease in apoB48 secretion in any fraction. Transfection of McArdle hepatoma cells (that lack PEMT) with PEMT cDNA enhanced secretion of TG in the VLDLs. Because the levels of PC in the hepatocytes and hepatoma cells were unaffected by the lack of PEMT expression, there appears to be an unexpected requirement for PEMT in the secretion of apoB100-containing VLDLs.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Apolipoprotein B-100
  • Apolipoproteins B / metabolism
  • Carrier Proteins / physiology
  • Cells, Cultured
  • Hepatocytes / enzymology
  • Lipoproteins, VLDL / metabolism*
  • Male
  • Methyltransferases / physiology*
  • Mice
  • Mice, Inbred C57BL
  • Oleic Acid / pharmacology
  • Phosphatidylcholines / biosynthesis
  • Phosphatidylethanolamine N-Methyltransferase
  • Triglycerides / metabolism


  • Apolipoprotein B-100
  • Apolipoproteins B
  • Carrier Proteins
  • Lipoproteins, VLDL
  • Phosphatidylcholines
  • Triglycerides
  • microsomal triglyceride transfer protein
  • Oleic Acid
  • Methyltransferases
  • Phosphatidylethanolamine N-Methyltransferase