Sphingolipid biosynthesis de novo by rat hepatocytes in culture. Ceramide and sphingomyelin are associated with, but not required for, very low density lipoprotein secretion.
Sphingolipids are constituents of liver and lipoproteins, but relatively little is known about their synthesis and secretion. Incubation of rat hepatocytes with [14C]- or [3H]serine labeled the long-chain base backbones of mainly ceramide and sphingomyelin. Most of the labeled sphingolipids were associated with the cells; however, 1-5% (the majority of which was ceramide) was released into the medium as part of very low density lipoproteins (VLDL). Since this is the first report that lipoproteins contain ceramide, lipoproteins were isolated from rat plasma, and the ceramide contents were (per mg of protein): 6.5 nmol for VLDL (d < 1.018), 0.6 nmol for low density lipoproteins (1.018 < d < 1.063), 0.2 nmol for high density lipoproteins (1.063 < d < 1.18), and 0.1 nmol for the albumin fraction; the lipoproteins also contained 0.1-0.4 nmol of free sphingosine/mg of protein. A number of factors affected the secretion of radiolabeled sphingolipids: 1) addition of palmitic acid, but not stearic or oleic acid, enhanced secretion due to an increase in long-chain base synthesis de novo. 2) Choline deficiency caused a 42% reduction in the secretion of radiolabeled sphingomyelin, but this was due to an effect on VLDL secretion rather than a decrease in sphingolipid synthesis. Removal of choline was examined because previous studies (Yao, Z. M., and Vance, D. E. (1988) J. Biol. Chem. 263, 2998-3004) have shown that choline deficiencies depress phosphatidylcholine synthesis and lipoprotein secretion. 3) Incubation of the cells with fumonisin B1, a mycotoxin inhibitor of sphinganine (sphingosine) N-acyltransferase, reduced overall sphingolipid synthesis and secretion by 90%, but had no effect on the secretion of apoB, phosphatidylcholine, or cholesterol. All together, these findings demonstrate that rat hepatocytes synthesize ceramide and sphingomyelin de novo and incorporate them into both cellular membranes and secreted VLDL, but normal sphingolipid synthesis is not required for lipoprotein secretion.
Merrill, AH; Lingrell, S; Wang, E; Nikolova-Karakashian, M; Vales, TR; Vance, DE
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