Author(s): DeLong CJ, Hicks AM, Cui Z
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Abstract Despite being widely hypothesized, the actual contribution of choline as a methyl source for phosphatidylethanolamine (PE) methylation has never been demonstrated, mainly due to the inability of conventional methods to distinguish the products from that of the CDP-choline pathway. Using a novel combination of stable-isotope labeling and tandem mass spectrometry, we demonstrated for the first time that choline contributed to phosphatidylcholine (PC) synthesis both as an intact choline moiety via the CDP-choline pathway and as a methyl donor via PE methylation pathway. When hepatocytes were labeled with d(9)-choline containing three deuterium atoms on each of the three methyl groups, d(3)-PC and d(6)-PC were detected, indicating that newly synthesized PC contained one or more individually mobilized methyl groups from d(9)-choline. The synthesis of d(3)-PC and d(6)-PC was sensitive to the general methylation inhibitor 3-deazaadenosine and were specific products of PE methylation using choline as a one-carbon donor. While the contribution to the CDP-choline pathway remained intact in hepatocarcinoma cells, contribution of choline to PE methylation was completely disrupted. In addition to a previously identified lack of PE methyltransferase, hepatocarcinoma cells were found to lack the abilities to oxidize choline to betaine and to donate the methyl group from betaine to homocysteine, whereas the usage of exogenous methionine as a methyl group donor was normal. The failure to use choline as a methyl source in hepatocarcinoma cells may contribute to methionine dependence, a widely observed aberration of one-carbon metabolism in malignancy.
This article was published in J Biol Chem
and referenced in Journal of Stem Cell Research & Therapy