The deacylation-reacylation process has been shown to be an important pathway for phospholipids to attain the desired acyl groups at the C-2 position. The acylation of 1-acyl-glycerophosphocholine (-GPC) in mammalian hearts has been well documented, but the acylation of 1-alkenyl-GPC has not been described. In this paper, we demonstrate the presence of acyl-CoA: 1-alkenyl-GPC acyltransferase for the acylation of 1-alkenyl-GPC in mammalian hearts; the highest activity is found in guinea pig heart. The guinea pig heart 1-alkenyl-GPC acyltransferase has only 10-40% of the 1-acyl-GPC acyltransferase activity, and both activities are located in the microsomal fraction. However, these two enzymes respond differently to cations, detergents and heat treatment, and the two enzymes also display different acyl specificity. Kinetic studies indicate that both reactions could not be accommodated by the same catalytic site. The results provide strong evidence that the two activities are from separate and distinct proteins. The specificity of 1-alkenyl-GPC acyltransferase for unsaturated species of acyl-CoA may play an important role in the maintenance of the high degree of unsaturated acyl groups found in guinea pig heart plasmalogens.