Biosynthesis of long-chain (sphingoid) bases from serine by LM cells. Evidence for introduction of the 4-trans-double bond after de novo biosynthesis of N-acylsphinganine(s).
The de novo biosynthesis of sphinganine and sphingosine was studied using LM cells incubated with [14C] serine in serum-free media. Most of the radiolabeled long-chain bases were initially found in dihydroceramides (as sphinganine) and the proportion appearing in complex sphingolipids (as sphingosine) increased over time. Since free long-chain bases were not detected (although formation of 3-ketosphinganine, the first condensation product of serine and palmitoyl-CoA, could be demonstrated in vitro), it appears that the first step is rate-limiting for dihydroceramide biosynthesis. The kinetics suggested that after N-acyl-sphinganines were formed they were dehydrogenated to N-acylsphingosines. No evidence was found for the formation in vivo or in vitro of the putative intermediates of the direct biosynthesis of sphingosine from sphinganine (i.e. 3-ketosphingosine and free sphingosine). The conversion of N-acylsphinganines to N-acyl-sphingosines was confirmed by incubating cells with [14C] serine followed by unlabeled serine, which resulted in a rapid increase in the sphingosine-to-sphinganine ratio in amide-linked sphingolipids during the chase. These findings are most consistent with a pathway for long-chain base biosynthesis in which N-acyl-sphinganines are first synthesized by LM cells and the 4-trans-double bond is added to this or subsequent products, as opposed to the most cited pathway wherein sphingosine is made directly from sphinganine.
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