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Mol Cells. 2006 Aug 31;22(1):97-103.

Phosphate number and acyl chain length determine the subcellular location and lateral mobility of phosphoinositides.

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National Research Laboratory for Cell Physiology and Department of Physiology, Seoul National University College of Medicine, Seoul 110-799, Korea.


Phosphoinositides are critical regulators of ion channel and transporter activity. There are multiple isomers of biologically active phosphoinositides in the plasma membrane and the different lipid species are non-randomly distributed. However, the mechanism by which cells impose selectivity and directionality on lipid movements and so generate a non-random lipid distribution remains unclear. In the present study we investigated which structural elements of phosphoinositides are responsible for their subcellular location and movement. We incubated phosphatidylinositol (PI), phosphatidylinositol 4-monophosphate (PI(4)P) and phosphatidylinositol 4,5-bisphosphate (PI(4,5)P2) with short or long acyl chains in CHO and HEK cells. We show that phosphate number and acyl chain length determine cellular location and translocation movement. In CHO cells, PI(4,5)P2 with a long acyl chain was released into the cytosol easily because of a low partition coefficient whereas long chain PI was released more slowly because of a high partition coefficient. In HEK cells, the cellular location and translocation movement of PI were similar to those of PI in CHO cells, whereas those of PI(4,5)P2 were different; some mechanism restricted the translocation movement of PI(4,5)P2, and this is in good agreement with the extremely low lateral diffusion of PI(4,5)P2. In contrast to the dependence on the number of phosphates of the phospholipid head group of long acyl chain analogs, short acyl chain phospholipids easily undergo translocation movement regardless of cell type and number of phosphates in the lipid headgroup.

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