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J Lipid Res. 1999 Nov;40(11):1998-2003.

Ether lipid biosynthesis: alkyl-dihydroxyacetonephosphate synthase protein deficiency leads to reduced dihydroxyacetonephosphate acyltransferase activities.

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  • 1Centre for Biomembranes and Lipid Enzymology, Institute for Biomembranes, Utrecht University, Utrecht, The Netherlands.


Recent studies have indicated that two peroxisomal enzymes involved in ether lipid synthesis, i.e., dihydroxyacetonephosphate acyltransferase and alkyl-dihydroxyacetonephosphate synthase, are directed to peroxisomes by different targeting signals, i.e., peroxisomal targeting signal type 1 and type 2, respectively. In this study, we describe a new human fibroblast cell line in which alkyl-dihydroxyacetonephosphate synthase was found to be deficient both at the level of enzyme activity and enzyme protein. At the cDNA level, a 128 base pair deletion was found leading to a premature stop. Remarkably, dihydroxyacetonephosphate acyltransferase activity was strongly reduced to a level comparable to the activities measured in fibroblasts from patients affected by the classical form of rhizomelic chondrodysplasia punctata (caused by a defect in peroxisomal targeting signal type 2 import). Dihydroxyacetonephosphate acyltransferase activity was completely normal in another alkyl-dihydroxyacetonephosphate synthase activity-deficient patient. Fibroblasts from this patient showed normal levels of the synthase protein and inactivity results from a point mutation leading to an amino acid substitution. These results strongly suggest that the activity of dihydroxyacetonephosphate acyltransferase is dependent on the presence of alkyl-dihydroxyacetonephosphate synthase protein. This interpretation implies that the deficiency of dihydroxyacetonephosphate acyltransferase (targeted by a peroxisomal targeting signal type 1) in the classic form of rhizomelic chondrodysplasia punctata is a consequence of the absence of the alkyl-dihydroxyacetonephosphate synthase protein (targeted by a peroxisomal targeting signal type 2).

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