Author(s): Subbaiah PV, Horvath P, Achar SB
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Abstract Sphingomyelin (SM), the second most abundant phospholipid in plasma lipoproteins, was previously shown to be a physiological inhibitor of the lecithin-cholesterol acyltransferase (LCAT) reaction. In this study, we investigated the effects of its metabolites, ceramide and ceramide phosphate, on the activity and fatty acid specificity of LCAT in vitro. Treatment of SM-containing substrate with SMase C, which hydrolyzes SM to ceramide, abolished the inhibitory effect of SM, whereas treatment with SMase D, which hydrolyzes it to ceramide phosphate, increased the level of inhibition. Although incorporation of ceramide into the substrate in the absence of SM activated the LCAT reaction only modestly, its co-incorporation with SM neutralized the inhibitory effect of SM. Ceramide phosphate, on the other hand, inhibited the LCAT reaction more strongly than SM. The effects of the sphingolipids on the phospholipase A and cholesterol esterification reactions of the enzyme were similar, indicating that they regulate the binding of phosphatidylcholine (PC) to the active site, rather than the esterification step. Incorporation of ceramide into the substrate stimulated the synthesis of unsaturated cholesteryl esters at the expense of saturated esters. However, these effects on fatty acid specificity disappeared when the PC substrates were incorporated into an inert diether PC matrix, suggesting that ceramide increases the availability of polyunsaturated PCs to the enzyme by altering the macromolecular structure of the substrate particle. Since the plasma ceramide levels are increased during inflammation, these results indicate that the activity and fatty acid specificity of LCAT may be altered during the inflammatory response.
This article was published in Biochemistry
and referenced in Journal of Glycomics & Lipidomics