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J Biol Chem. 2001 Nov 9;276(45):41710-6. Epub 2001 Sep 5.

The initial step of the glycerolipid pathway: identification of glycerol 3-phosphate/dihydroxyacetone phosphate dual substrate acyltransferases in Saccharomyces cerevisiae.

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Plant Biotechnology Institute, National Research Council of Canada, Saskatoon, Saskatchewan S7N OW9, Canada.


The initial step of phospholipid biosynthesis in yeast is carried out through the acylation of glycerol 3-phosphate (G-3-P) and dihydroxyacetone phosphate by stereospecific sn-1 acyltransferases. Here we report the identification of two key fatty acyltransferases of the glycerolipid biosynthesis pathway in Saccharomyces cerevisiae. Disruption of the open reading frame YBL011w, corresponding to a gene previously identified as a choline transporter suppressor (SCT1), resulted in a substantial decrease of total cellular G-3-P acyltransferase activity. A yeast strain disrupted at the open reading frame YKR067w, which encodes a protein closely related to Sct1p, also exhibited a dramatic reduction in G-3-P acyltransferase activity. Molecular characterizations of the genes revealed that a missense mutation in YKR067w accounted for a defect in the activities of the G-3-P acyltransferase in the yeast mutant strain TTA1. Heterologous expression of YKR067w in Escherichia coli further confirmed its enzyme activity. These results indicate that YKR067w and YBL011w, designated herein as GAT1 and GAT2(SCT1), respectively, are yeast G-3-P acyltransferase genes. Furthermore, biochemical results are presented to show that both Gat1p and Gat2p(Sct1p) are G-3-P/dihydroxyacetone phosphate dual substrate-specific sn-1 acyltransferases. The fatty acyl specificity of Gat1p is similar to that of the mammalian microsomal G-3-P acyltransferase, as it can effectively utilize a broad range of fatty acids as acyl donors. In contrast, Gat2p(Sct1p) displayed preference toward 16-carbon fatty acids. The most notable of the altered phospholipid compositions of the gat1Delta and gat2(sct1)Delta strains are a decreased phosphatidic acid pool and an increased phosphatidylserine/phosphatidylinositol ratio. This did not appear to affect the mutants as no growth defect was found. However, null mutations of both GAT1 and GAT2(SCT1) are synthetically lethal to yeast.

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