BBA - Molecular and Cell Biology of Lipids (v.1861, #1)

The zebrafish (Danio rerio) is frequently employed as model organism to explore vertebrate embryogenesis but little is known about the lipoxygenase pathway in this lower vertebrate. When we searched the zebrafish genome for lipoxygenase genes we detected seven different genes localized on four different chromosomes. Four of these genes (ALOX2, ALOX3a, ALOX3b, ALOX3c) share a high degree of sequence conservation with the human ALOX5 gene, which encodes for the key enzyme of mammalian leukotriene biosynthesis. Expression profiles of the corresponding transcripts indicated that the ALOX2 gene is high level expressed during zebrafish embryogenesis whereas transcripts originating from the other three paralog genes could not be detected. To functionally compare human ALOX5 with the putative zebrafish ortholog (zebrafish ALOX2) we cloned and expressed the zebrafish enzyme in pro- and eukaryotic expression systems and characterized it as arachidonic acid 5S-lipoxygenating enzyme, which also exhibits leukotriene synthase activity. Mutagenesis studies of the triad determinants (Phe359Trp, Ala424Ile, Asn425Met) altered the reaction specificity from 5S- to dominant 15S-lipoxygenation. The finding that zebrafish expresses a functional ALOX5 together with the observation that most other human leukotriene relevant genes have an ortholog in the zebrafish genome suggests the biological relevance of leukotriene signaling in lower vertebrates.
Keywords: Eicosanoids; Evolution; Leukotrienes; Oxidative stress; Zebrafish;

N − 3PUFA differentially modulate palmitate-induced lipotoxicity through alterations of its metabolism in C2C12 muscle cells by Alexandre Pinel; Jean-Paul Rigaudière; Brigitte Laillet; Corinne Pouyet; Corinne Malpuech-Brugère; Carina Prip-Buus; Béatrice Morio; Frédéric Capel (12-20).
Excessive energy intake leads to fat overload and the formation of lipotoxic compounds mainly derived from the saturated fatty acid palmitate (PAL), thus promoting insulin resistance (IR) in skeletal muscle. N − 3 polyunsaturated fatty acids (n − 3PUFA) may prevent lipotoxicity and IR. The purpose of this study was to examine the differential effects of n − 3PUFA on fatty acid metabolism and insulin sensitivity in muscle cells. C2C12 myotubes were treated with 500 μM of PAL without or with 50 μM of alpha-linolenic acid (ALA), eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA) or docosahexaenoic acid (DHA) for 16 h. PAL decreased insulin-dependent AKT activation and glucose uptake and increased the synthesis of ceramides and diglycerides (DG) derivatives, leading to protein kinase Cθ activation. EPA and DHA, but not ALA, prevented PAL-decreased AKT activation but glucose uptake was restored to control values by all n − 3PUFA vs. PAL. Total DG and ceramide contents were decreased by all n − 3PUFA, but only EPA and DHA increased PAL β-oxidation, decreased PAL incorporation into DG and reduced protein kinase Cθ activation. EPA and DHA emerge as better candidates than ALA to improve fatty acid metabolism in skeletal muscle cells, notably via their ability to increase mitochondrial β-oxidation.
Keywords: Omega-3 fatty acids; EPA; DHA; Palmitate; Fatty acid metabolism; Insulin resistance;

Ceramide signaling targets the PP2A-like protein phosphatase Sit4p to impair vacuolar function, vesicular trafficking and autophagy in Isc1p deficient cells by Vitor Teixeira; Tânia C. Medeiros; Rita Vilaça; João Ferreira; Pedro Moradas-Ferreira; Vítor Costa (21-33).
The vacuoles play important roles in cellular homeostasis and their functions include the digestion of cytoplasmic material and organelles derived from autophagy. Conserved nutrient signaling pathways regulate vacuolar function and autophagy, ensuring normal cell and organismal development and aging. Recent evidence implicates sphingolipids in the modulation of these processes, but the impact of ceramide signaling on vacuolar dynamics and autophagy remains largely unknown. Here, we show that yeast cells lacking Isc1p, an orthologue of mammalian neutral sphingomyelinase type 2, exhibit vacuolar fragmentation and dysfunctions, namely decreased Pep4p-mediated proteolysis and V-ATPase activity, which impairs vacuolar acidification. Moreover, these phenotypes are suppressed by downregulation of the ceramide-activated protein phosphatase Sit4p. The isc1Δ cells also exhibit defective Cvt and vesicular trafficking in a Sit4p-dependent manner, ultimately contributing to a reduced autophagic flux. Importantly, these phenotypes are also suppressed by downregulation of the nutrient signaling kinase TORC1, which is known to inhibit Sit4p and autophagy, or Sch9p. These results support a model in which Sit4p functions downstream of Isc1p in a TORC1-independent, ceramide-dependent signaling branch that impairs vacuolar function and vesicular trafficking, leading to autophagic defects in yeast.
Keywords: Isc1p; Sit4p; Ceramide; Vacuole; Vesicular trafficking; Autophagy;

Malony-CoA inhibits the S113L variant of carnitine-palmitoyltransferase II by Leila Motlagh; Ralph Golbik; Wolfgang Sippl; Stephan Zierz (34-40).
Carnitine palmitoyltransferases (CPT), located both in the outer (CPT I) and inner membrane (CPT II) of mitochondria, are the key players for an efficient transport of long chain fatty acids into this cell compartment. The metabolite malonyl-CoA is known to inhibit CPT I, but not CPT II. His6-N-hCPT2 (wild type) and His6-N-hCPT2/S113L (variant) were produced recombinantly in prokaryotic host, purified and characterized according to their functional and regulatory properties. The wild type and the variant showed the same enzymatic activity and were both inhibited by malonyl-CoA and malonate in a time-dependent manner. The inhibition was, however, significantly more pronounced in the mutated enzyme. The residual activities were 40% and 5% at temperatures of 4 °C and 30 °C, respectively. The inhibitory effect proceeded irreversibly with no recovery after post-incubation of palmitoyl-CoA (Pal-CoA) as native substrate. A model of malonyl-CoA and malonate binding to human CPT II was suggested by docking studies to explain the action of the inhibitors regarding to the effect of the mutation on the protein conformation. Results indicated that not only CPT I, but also CPT II can be inhibited by malonyl-CoA. Thus, the complete inhibition of total CPT (i.e. CPT I and CPT II) in muscle homogenates by an established assay is not due to a lack of enzymatically active CPT II, but rather due to an abnormal regulation of the enzyme.

Methyl donors play critical roles in nutritional programming through epigenetic regulation of gene expression. Here we fed gestational sows with control or betaine-supplemented diets (3 g/kg) throughout the pregnancy to explore the effects of maternal methyl-donor nutrient on neonatal expression of hepatic lipogenic genes. Betaine-exposed piglets demonstrated significantly lower liver triglyceride content associated with down-regulated hepatic expression of lipogenic genes acetyl-CoA carboxylase (ACC), fatty acid synthase (FAS), stearoyl-CoA desaturase (SCD) and sterol regulatory element-binding protein-1c. Moreover, s-adenosyl methionine to s-adenosyl homocysteine ratio was elevated in the liver of betaine-exposed piglets, which was accompanied by DNA hypermethylation on FAS and SCD gene promoters and more enriched repression histone mark H3K27me3 on SCD gene promoter. Furthermore, glucocorticoid receptor (GR) binding to SCD gene promoter was diminished along with reduced serum cortisol and liver GR protein content in betaine-exposed piglets. GR-mediated SCD gene regulation was confirmed in HepG2 cells in vitro. Dexamethasone (Dex) drastically increased the luciferase activity of porcine SCD promoter, while the deletion of GR response element on SCD promoter significantly attenuated Dex-mediated SCD transactivation. In addition, miR-let-7e, miR-1285 and miR-124a, which respectively target porcine SCD, ACC and GR, were significantly up-regulated in the liver of betaine-exposed piglets, being in accordance with decreased protein content of these three genes. Taken together, our results suggest that maternal dietary betaine supplementation during gestation attenuates hepatic lipogenesis in neonatal piglets via epigenetic and GR-mediated mechanisms.
Keywords: Betaine; Epigenetic; GR; Lipogenesis; DNA methylation; Micro-RNAs;

Culturing of HepG2 cells with human serum improve their functionality and suitability in studies of lipid metabolism by Camilla Pramfalk; Lilian Larsson; Jennifer Härdfeldt; Mats Eriksson; Paolo Parini (51-59).
Primary human hepatocytes are considered to be the “gold standard” in studies of lipid metabolism despite a number of disadvantages like large inter-donor differences and inability to proliferate. Human hepatoma HepG2 cells retain many hepatocyte-specific functions but do also exhibit disadvantages like secretion of lipoproteins and bile acids that do not emulate human hepatocytes in vivo. The aim of this study was to investigate whether supplementation of the culturing media with human serum could improve the functionality of HepG2 cells and thereby make them more apposite in studies of lipid metabolism. The cells were cultured with human sera (2%) from three healthy individuals or with fetal bovine serum (10%). Lipoprotein, apolipoprotein, bile acid, albumin, and proprotein subtilisin/kexin type 9 (Pcsk9) concentrations in the cell media, as well as gene and protein expressions were then measured. We found apoB-containing LDL-sized but also apoA1-containing HDL-sized particles, increased bile acid and Pcsk9 concentrations in the cell media, as well as increased expression of genes involved in lipid metabolism and differentiation in HepG2 cells cultured with human sera. Thus, supplementation of the culturing media with human serum improves the functionality of HepG2 cells and makes them more apposite in studies of lipid metabolism.
Keywords: HepG2; Human serum; FBS; Lipoproteins; Bile acids;

Diseases including tuberculosis and leprosy are caused by species of the Mycobacterium genus and are a huge burden on global health, aggravated by the emergence of drug resistant strains. Mycobacteria have a high lipid content and complex lipid profile including several unique classes of lipid. Recent years have seen a growth in research focused on lipid structures, metabolism and biological functions driven by advances in mass spectrometry techniques and instrumentation, particularly the use of electrospray ionization. Here we review the contributions of lipidomics towards the advancement of our knowledge of lipid metabolism in mycobacterial species.
Keywords: Mycobacterium; Tuberculosis; Systems biology; Mass spectrometry; Lipidomics; Metabolism;