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Plant Physiol. 1994 Mar;104(3):845-855.

Apparent Role of Phosphatidylcholine in the Metabolism of Petroselinic Acid in Developing Umbelliferae Endosperm.

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Department of Botany and Plant Pathology, Michigan State University, East Lansing, Michigan 48824.


Studies were conducted to characterize the metabolism of the unusual fatty acid petroselinic acid (18:1cis[delta]6) in developing endosperm of the Umbelliferae species coriander (Coriandrum sativum L.) and carrot (Daucus carota L.). Analyses of fatty acid compositions of glycerolipids of these tissues revealed a dissimilar distribution of petroselinic acid in triacylglycerols (TAG) and the major polar lipids phosphatidylcholine (PC) and phosphatidylethanolamine (PE). Petroselinic acid comprised 70 to 75 mol% of the fatty acids of TAG but only 9 to 20 mol% of the fatty acids of PC and PE. Although such data appeared to suggest that petroselinic acid is at least partially excluded from polar lipids, results of [1-14C]acetate radiolabeling experiments gave a much different picture of the metabolism of this fatty acid. In time-course labeling of carrot endosperm, [1-14C]acetate was rapidly incorporated into PC in high levels. Through 30 min, radiolabel was most concentrated in PC, and of this, 80 to 85% was in the form of petroselinic acid. One explanation for the large disparity in amounts of petroselinic acid in PC as determined by fatty acid mass analyses and 14C radiolabeling is that turnover of these lipids or the fatty acids of these lipids results in relatively low accumulation of petroselinic acid mass. Consistent with this, the kinetics of [1-14C]acetate time-course labeling of carrot endosperm and "pulse-chase" labeling of coriander endosperm suggested a possible flux of fatty acids from PC into TAG. In time-course experiments, radiolabel initially entered PC at the highest rates but accumulated in TAG at later time points. Similarly, in pulse-chase studies, losses in absolute amounts of radioactivity from PC were accompanied by significant increases of radiolabel in TAG. In addition, stereospecific analyses of unlabeled and [1-14C]acetate-labeled PC of coriander endosperm indicated that petroselinic acid can be readily incorporated into both the sn-1 and sn-2 positions of this lipid. Because petroselinic acid is neither synthesized nor further modified on polar lipids, the apparent metabolism of this fatty acid through PC (and possibly through other polar lipids) may define a function of PC in TAG assembly apart from its involvement in fatty acid modification reactions.

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