National Center for
2X8U: Sphingomonas Wittichii Serine Palmitoyltransferase
The serine palmitoyltransferase from Sphingomonas wittichii RW1: An interesting link to an unusual acyl carrier protein
Biopolymers (2010) 93 p.811-822
Serine palmitoyltransferase (SPT) catalyses the first step in the de novo biosynthesis of sphingolipids (SLs). It uses a decarboxylative Claisen-like condensation reaction to couple L-serine with palmitoyl-CoA to generate a long-chain base product, 3-ketodihydrosphingosine. SLs are produced by mammals, plants, yeast, and some bacteria, and we have exploited the complete genome sequence of Sphingomonas wittichii to begin a complete analysis of bacterial sphingolipid biosynthesis. Here, we describe the enzymatic characterization of the SPT from this organism and present its high-resolution x-ray structure. Moreover, we identified an open reading frame with high sequence homology to acyl carrier proteins (ACPs) that are common to fatty acid biosynthetic pathways. This small protein was co-expressed with the SPT and we isolated and characterised the apo- and holo-forms of the ACP. Our studies suggest a link between fatty acid and sphingolipid metabolism.