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J Biol Chem. 2007 Sep 21;282(38):28195-206. Epub 2007 Jul 16.

Arabidopsis mutants lacking long chain base phosphate lyase are fumonisin-sensitive and accumulate trihydroxy-18:1 long chain base phosphate.

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  • 1Department of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology, Uniformed Services University of the Health Sciences, Bethesda, Maryland 20184, USA.


The sphingoid long chain bases (LCBs) and their phosphorylated derivatives (LCB-Ps) are important signaling molecules in eukaryotic organisms. The cellular levels of LCB-Ps are tightly controlled by the coordinated action of the LCB kinase activity responsible for their synthesis and the LCB-P phosphatase and lyase activities responsible for their catabolism. Although recent studies have implicated LCB-Ps as regulatory molecules in plants, in comparison with yeast and mammals, much less is known about their metabolism and function in plants. To investigate the functions of LCB-Ps in plants, we have undertaken the identification and characterization of Arabidopsis genes that encode the enzymes of LCB-P metabolism. In this study the Arabidopsis At1g27980 gene was shown to encode the only detectable LCB-P lyase activity in Arabidopsis. The LCB-P lyase activity was characterized, and mutant plant lines lacking the lyase were generated and analyzed. Whereas in other organisms loss of LCB-P lyase activity is associated with accumulation of high levels of LCB/LCB-Ps and developmental abnormalities, the sphingolipid profiles of the mutant plants were remarkably similar to those of wild-type plants, and no developmental abnormalities were observed. Thus, these studies indicate that the lyase plays a minor role in maintenance of sphingolipid metabolism during normal plant development and growth. However, a clear role for the lyase was revealed upon perturbation of sphingolipid synthesis by treatment with the inhibitor of ceramide synthase, fumonisin B(1).

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