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, 1 (1), 37-48

Biologically Active Ether Lipids: Incorporation of Long-Chain Precursors Into 1(3),2-diacylglycero-3(1)-O-4'-(N,N,N-trimethyl)homoserines and Other Lipids of Chlorella Fusca

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  • PMID: 2519885

Biologically Active Ether Lipids: Incorporation of Long-Chain Precursors Into 1(3),2-diacylglycero-3(1)-O-4'-(N,N,N-trimethyl)homoserines and Other Lipids of Chlorella Fusca

N Weber et al. J Lipid Mediat.

Abstract

The lipids of Chlorella fusca are composed of the ester lipids typical of photosynthetically active cells. In addition, there occurs a class of less common ether lipids, the biologically active 1(3),2-diacylglycero-3(1)-O-4'-(N,N,N- trimethyl)homoserines, at a level of about 1.3% of total lipids. The acyl moieties of the total lipids include saturated as well as mono-, di- and tri-unsaturated species with chain lengths of 16 and 18 carbon atoms, the major constituents being palmitic and oleic acids. In both the diacylglycerophosphocholines, i.e., the major class of ester phospholipids, and the diacylglycero-4'-O-(N,N,N-trimethyl)homoserines palmitic acid is located predominantly at position 1 of the glycerol backbone, whereas oleic acid is almost equally distributed between positions 1 and 2; palmitoleic and polyunsaturated fatty acids are esterified preferentially at position 2. Incubation of C. fusca cultures with 14C-labeled fatty acids leads to their rapid incorporation into various lipid classes. Oleic and palmitic acids are incorporated at a faster rate than stearic acid (18:1 greater than 16:0 much greater than 18:0). 1,2- and 1,3-Diacylglycerols are the most prominent intermediates of early metabolism of the exogenous fatty acids. In the course of time, a steady decrease of radioactive 1,2-diacylglycerols is observed that is accompanied by an increase in labeled triacylglycerols, diacylglycerophosphocholines, and diacylglycero-O-(N,N,N-trimethyl)homoserines. The stereospecific distribution of acyl moieties in the diacylglycero-O-(N,N,N-trimethyl)homoserines in C. fusca indicates that these ether lipids are derived from 1,2-diacylglycerol intermediates. This notion is supported by the finding that during incubation with radioactively labeled fatty acids the formation of diacylglycero-O-(N,N,N-trimethyl)homoserines parallels the biosynthesis of both diacylglycerophosphocholines and diacylglycerophosphoethanolamines, two classes of phospholipids which are known to be derived from 1,2-diacylglycerols. The mechanism of the formation of the ether bond, however, is as yet unknown. Incubation of C. fusca cultures with 14C-labeled fatty acids or alcohols leads to the formation of fair proportions of wax esters that are labeled in both the acyl and the alkyl moieties, indicating that in these algae fatty acids and alcohols are interconverted. 14C-Labeled long-chain alcohols are not incorporated into the alkyl moieties of ether lipids, whereas labeled 1-O-alkylglycerols are used, though to a very small extent, as precursors of ether phospholipids.

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