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Mol Cell. 2012 May 25;46(4):461-71. doi: 10.1016/j.molcel.2012.04.033.

The Sjögren-Larsson syndrome gene encodes a hexadecenal dehydrogenase of the sphingosine 1-phosphate degradation pathway.

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Laboratory of Biochemistry, Faculty of Pharmaceutical Sciences, Hokkaido University, Kita-ku, Sapporo, Japan.


Sphingosine 1-phosphate (S1P) functions not only as a bioactive lipid molecule, but also as an important intermediate of the sole sphingolipid-to-glycerolipid metabolic pathway. However, the precise reactions and the enzymes involved in this pathway remain unresolved. We report here that yeast HFD1 and the Sjögren-Larsson syndrome (SLS)-causative mammalian gene ALDH3A2 are responsible for conversion of the S1P degradation product hexadecenal to hexadecenoic acid. The absence of ALDH3A2 in CHO-K1 mutant cells caused abnormal metabolism of S1P/hexadecenal to ether-linked glycerolipids. Moreover, we demonstrate that yeast Faa1 and Faa4 and mammalian ACSL family members are acyl-CoA synthetases involved in the sphingolipid-to-glycerolipid metabolic pathway and that hexadecenoic acid accumulates in Δfaa1 Δfaa4 mutant cells. These results unveil the entire S1P metabolic pathway: S1P is metabolized to glycerolipids via hexadecenal, hexadecenoic acid, hexadecenoyl-CoA, and palmitoyl-CoA. From our results we propose a possibility that accumulation of the S1P metabolite hexadecenal contributes to the pathogenesis of SLS.

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