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J Biol Chem. 1990 Sep 15;265(26):15653-8.

Class F Thy-1-negative murine lymphoma cells are deficient in ether lipid biosynthesis.

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Department of Biochemistry, Merck Sharp and Dohme Research Laboratories, Rahway, New Jersey 07065.


The glycosyl phosphatidylinositol (PI) membrane anchors of several proteins contain 1-alkyl-2-acyl-glycerophosphoinositol. Although this PI analog has never been found free in cells, the presence of "alkyl-PI" as a component of some membrane anchors suggests its existence. The resistance of ether linkages to cleavage by mild alkali treatment was used to detect possible alkyl chains in the [3H]inositol-labeled phospholipids of several murine lymphoma cell lines which normally express the glycosyl PI-anchored protein Thy-1. One lipid, which arose from alkaline hydrolysis of PI and had mobility on thin layer chromatography similar to lyso-PI, was detected in all wild-type cell lines. Analysis of the base-stable inositol lipids of several lymphoma lines that are deficient in Thy-1 surface expression because of defective biosynthesis of the glycosyl PI membrane anchor revealed that the putative alkyl-PI was missing in the class F mutant. The levels of both the ethanolamine- and choline-containing plasmalogens were also decreased 10-fold in these cells, suggesting a general defect in the production of ether lipids. The activity of the peroxisomal form of dihydroxyacetonephosphate acyltransferase, which catalyzes the first step of ether lipid biosynthesis, was found to be 10-fold decreased relative to the wild-type level. Unlike previously described Chinese hamster ovary cell mutants deficient in ether lipids (Zoeller, R. A., and Raetz, C. R. H. (1986) Proc. Natl. Acad. Sci. U. S. A. 83, 5170-5174), the class F Thy-1- cells contain intact functional peroxisomes. Attempts to restore the putative alkyl-PI to the class F mutants by alkylglycerol supplementation were unsuccessful, despite concomitant restoration of the much larger plasmenylethanolamine pool, suggesting that there are some differences in the biosynthesis of this PI analog and plasmalogens that are presently not understood. Although the deficiencies in ether lipids and surface expression of Thy-1 in the class F mutants could also be due to separate mutations, our findings raise the possibility that alkyl-PI exists in animal cells and may be an obligate precursor for the biosynthesis of the glycosyl-PI membrane anchor of Thy-1.

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