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J Vis Exp. 2011 Mar 18;(49). pii: 2518. doi: 10.3791/2518.

Arabidopsis thaliana polar glycerolipid profiling by thin layer chromatography (TLC) coupled with gas-liquid chromatography (GLC).

Author information

1
Department of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology, Michigan State University, USA.

Abstract

Biological membranes separate cells from the environment. From a single cell to multicellular plants and animals, glycerolipids, such as phosphatidylcholine or phosphatidylethanolamine, form bilayer membranes which act as both boundaries and interfaces for chemical exchange between cells and their surroundings. Unlike animals, plant cells have a special organelle for photosynthesis, the chloroplast. The intricate membrane system of the chloroplast contains unique glycerolipids, namely glycolipids lacking phosphorus: monogalactosyldiacylglycerol (MGDG), digalactosyldiacylglycerol (DGDG), sulfoquinovosyldiacylglycerol (SQDG). The roles of these lipids are beyond simply structural. These glycolipids and other glycerolipids were found in the crystal structures of photosystem I and II indicating the involvement of glycerolipids in photosynthesis. During phosphate starvation, DGDG is transferred to extraplastidic membranes to compensate the loss of phospholipids. Much of our knowledge of the biosynthesis and function of these lipids has been derived from a combination of genetic and biochemical studies with Arabidopsis thaliana. During these studies, a simple procedure for the analysis of polar lipids has been essential for the screening and analysis of lipid mutants and will be outlined in detail. A leaf lipid extract is first separated by thin layer chromatography (TLC) and glycerolipids are stained reversibly with iodine vapor. The individual lipids are scraped from the TLC plate and converted to fatty acyl methylesters (FAMEs), which are analyzed by gas-liquid chromatography coupled with flame ionization detection (FID-GLC) (Figure 1). This method has been proven to be a reliable tool for mutant screening. For example, the tgd1,2,3,4 endoplasmic reticulum-to-plastid lipid trafficking mutants were discovered based on the accumulation of an abnormal galactoglycerolipid: trigalactosyldiacylglycerol (TGDG) and a decrease in the relative amount of 18:3 (carbons : double bonds) fatty acyl groups in membrane lipids. This method is also applicable for determining enzymatic activities of proteins using lipids as substrate.

PMID:
21445048
PMCID:
PMC3197303
DOI:
10.3791/2518
[Indexed for MEDLINE]
Free PMC Article

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