Topography of glycerolipid synthetic enzymes. Synthesis of phosphatidylserine, phosphatidylinositol and glycerolipid intermediates occurs on the cytoplasmic surface of rat liver microsomal vesicles

Biochim Biophys Acta. 1981 Sep 24;665(3):586-95. doi: 10.1016/0005-2760(81)90274-5.


The topography of glycerolipid biosynthetic enzymes within the transverse plane of rat liver microsomal vesicles was investigated: (1) by use of the impermeant inhibitor, mercury-dextran; (2) by use of proteases; and (3) by determining whether the enzyme activities are latent. The seven enzyme activities investigated (dihydroxyacetone-phosphate acyltransferase, acyldihydroxyacetone-phosphate oxidoreductase, phosphatidic acid : CTPcytidyltransferase, CDPdiacylglycerol : inositol phosphatidyltransferase, 2-monoacylglycerol acyltransferase, diacylglycerol kinase, and the serine base exchange enzyme) function in phosphatidylinositol and phosphatidylserine synthesis and at intermediate levels in glycerolipid synthesis including steps of ether lipid synthesis. Mercury-dextran inhibited four of these enzymes greater than 60% in intact microsomal vesicles. One or more of the proteases employed (chymotrypsin, trypsin and pronase) inactivated each of the seven enzyme activities in intact microsomal vesicles. These two approaches indicate that each of these enzymes has important domains located on the cytoplasmic surface of microsomal vesicles. These enzyme activities could be assayed in intact microsomal vesicles. None appeared to be highly latent, indicating that substrates have free access to active sites. One substrate for each of these enzymes had been shown previously to be unable to cross the microsomal membrane. These data indicate that the active sites of these enzymes are located on the cytoplasmic surface of microsomal vesicles. It is concluded that the synthesis of phosphatidylserine and phosphatidylinositol, intermediates of ether lipid formation and other intermediates of glycerolipid synthesis occur asymmetrically on the cytoplasmic surface of the endoplasmic reticulum. These findings and our previous investigations on the topography of seven enzymes of triacylglycerol, phosphatidylcholine and phosphatidylethanolamine biosynthesis (Ballas, L.M. and Bell, R.M., Biochim. Biophys. Acta 602, (1980) 578-590) indicate that the synthesis of the major cellular glycerolipids occurs asymmetrically on the cytoplasmic surface of the endoplasmic reticulum.

Publication types

  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Acyltransferases / metabolism
  • Animals
  • CDP-Diacylglycerol-Inositol 3-Phosphatidyltransferase
  • Cytidine Diphosphate Diglycerides / metabolism
  • Diacylglycerol Kinase
  • Dihydroxyacetone Phosphate / metabolism
  • Female
  • Glycerides / metabolism
  • Intracellular Membranes / enzymology*
  • Kinetics
  • Membrane Proteins
  • Microsomes, Liver / enzymology*
  • Nitrogenous Group Transferases*
  • Nucleotidyltransferases / metabolism
  • Phosphatidylinositols / biosynthesis*
  • Phosphatidylserines / biosynthesis*
  • Phospholipids / metabolism
  • Phosphotransferases / metabolism
  • Rats
  • Serine / metabolism
  • Sugar Alcohol Dehydrogenases / metabolism
  • Transferases (Other Substituted Phosphate Groups)*
  • Transferases / metabolism


  • Cytidine Diphosphate Diglycerides
  • Glycerides
  • Membrane Proteins
  • Phosphatidylinositols
  • Phosphatidylserines
  • Phospholipids
  • Serine
  • Dihydroxyacetone Phosphate
  • Sugar Alcohol Dehydrogenases
  • acylglycerone-phosphate reductase
  • Transferases
  • Acyltransferases
  • 2-acylglycerol O-acyltransferase
  • glycerone-phosphate O-acyltransferase
  • Nitrogenous Group Transferases
  • Phosphotransferases
  • Diacylglycerol Kinase
  • Nucleotidyltransferases
  • phosphatidate cytidylyltransferase
  • Transferases (Other Substituted Phosphate Groups)
  • phospholipid serine base exchange enzyme
  • CDP-Diacylglycerol-Inositol 3-Phosphatidyltransferase
  • Cdipt protein, rat