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J Biol Chem. 2006 Dec 22;281(51):39217-24. Epub 2006 Nov 2.

The enzymatic function of tafazzin.

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  • 1Departments of Anesthesiology and Cell Biology, New York University School of Medicine, New York, New York 10016, USA.


Tafazzin is a putative enzyme that is involved in cardiolipin metabolism, it may carry mutations responsible for Barth syndrome. To identify the biochemical reaction catalyzed by tafazzin, we expressed the full-length isoform of Drosophila melanogaster tafazzin in a baculovirus-Sf9 insect cell system. Tafazzin expression induced a new enzymatic function in Sf9 cell mitochondria, namely 1-palmitoyl-2-[14C]linoleoyl-phosphatidylcholine:monolysocardiolipin linoleoyltransferase. We also found evidence for the reverse reaction, because tafazzin expression caused transfer of acyl groups from phospholipids to 1-[14C]palmitoyl-2-lyso-phosphatidylcholine. An affinity-purified tafazzin construct, tagged with the maltose-binding protein, catalyzed both forward and reverse transacylations between cardiolipin and phosphatidylcholine, but was unable to utilize CoA or acyl-CoA as substrates. Whereas tafazzin supported transacylations between various phospholipid-lysophospholipid pairs, it showed the highest rate for the phosphatidylcholine-cardiolipin transacylation. Transacylation activities were about 10-fold higher for linoleoyl groups than for oleoyl groups, and they were negligible for arachidonoyl groups. The data show that Drosophila tafazzin is a CoA-independent, acyl-specific phospholipid transacylase with substrate preference for cardiolipin and phosphatidylcholine.

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