Proceedings of the Japan Academy, Series B
Online ISSN : 1349-2896
Print ISSN : 0386-2208
Reminiscence of our research on membrane phospholipids in mammalian cells by using the novel technology
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2012 Volume 88 Issue 10 Pages 536-553


By using “our devised up-to-the-second technique” over 30 years ago, we succeeded in the first isolation in the world of the three different kinds of mammalian cell mutants defective in the biosynthesis on each of phosphatidylserine (PS), cardiolipin (CL) and sphingomyelin (SM) from the parental CHO cells. As the results, we found that during the biosyntheses of PS and SM, the biosynthetic precursor or the final lipids are transported from their synthesized intracellular organelles to the plasma membranes via the other intracellular organelles. We further clarified the presence of the reversed routes for PS and SM from the plasma membranes to their synthesized organelles too. Our first epoch-making finding is not only the cycling inter-conversion reactions between PS and PE catalyzed by PSS-II and PSD but also their simultaneous transferring between MAM and Mit (found by O. Kuge). Our second finding is “the ceramide-trafficking protein (CERT)” working as the specific transfer protein of ceramide from the ER to the Golgi apparatus, during the SM biosynthesis (by K. Hanada).
As for their new biological roles, we clarified possible contribution of PS and/or PE to the fusion process between viral envelope and endosomal membrane, releasing the genetic information of the virus to the host cytoplasm. CL is contributing to the functional NADH-ubiquinone reductase activity by keeping the right structure of Coenzyme Q9 for its functioning. SM and cholesterol form the microdomain within the plasma membrane, so-called “the raft structure” where the GPI-anchored proteins are specifically located for their functioning.

(Communicated by Takao SEKIYA, M.J.A.)

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© 2012 The Japan Academy
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