Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Odd lipid out may illuminate evolution

Date:
March 28, 2012
Source:
RIKEN
Summary:
Spectroscopic evidence for the unusual handedness of a mammalian lipid may advance our understanding of evolution.

The backbone of the chemical structure of phospholipids in archaea is right-handed; in more complex organisms, it is left-handed.
Credit: Copyright 2012 Peter Greimel

Spectroscopic evidence for the unusual handedness of a mammalian lipid may advance our understanding of evolution.

Phospholipids are the main constituents of the cellular membranes in all organisms, ranging from single-celled archaea to highly complex plants and mammals. According to conventional wisdom, the chemical backbone of phospholipids in archaea is 'right-handed', but left-handed in all other organisms. The little-understood mammalian phospholipid bis(monoacylglycero)phosphate (BMP), however, is a possible exception to this rule. Peter Greimel, HuiHui Tan and their colleagues at the RIKEN Advanced Science Institute, Wako, have now obtained the first proof that BMP is indeed right-handed.

BMP is found only in mammals, and is a common -- but minor -- constituent of all animal tissues. The internal membranes of the waste treatment and recycling centers of cells -- so-called late endosomes and lysosomes -- have a higher proportion of BMP than any other animal membranes. This raised an intriguing question, explains Greimel: "How does BMP escape degradation inside these organelles, unlike all the other lipids and proteins?" This led to the [hypothesis] that BMP might actually be right-handed, allowing it to avoid attack by the organelle's digestive enzymes that are only capable of recognizing, and therefore destroying, left-handed lipids. All previous attempts to confirm the suspected unusual handedness -- or chirality -- of BMP had hit problems.

The research team first synthesized all the possible variations of BMP. They then reacted these variations with the chiral shift reagent D-camphor. "The D-camphor induced a change in the spectroscopic behavior of each synthetic BMP analogue," explains Greimel. This meant that the nuclear magnetic resonance (NMR) -- a common spectroscopic technique -- spectra of the BMP analogues were different enough to be distinguished from each other.

Next, the researchers isolated natural BMP from baby hamster kidney cells using standard techniques, then reacted it with D-camphor under very gentle conditions and analyzed it spectroscopically. They then compared the NMR spectra of the natural BMP derivative and the synthetic molecules. "Analysis of the spectroscopic data revealed that natural BMP is exclusively right-handed," Greimel says.

"Since BMP is right-handed, it means it most likely originated from the same common ancestor as archaea," he explains. The research team now plans to identify the enzymes involved in the biosynthesis of BMP, with the hope that detailed knowledge of this biosynthetic pathway will eventually lead to a better understanding of how life evolved on Earth.

Additionally, Greimel says that "now we know the [chirality] of the molecule, we can think about synthesizing analogues in order to develop novel drugs, in this case to treat lysosomal storage diseases."


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by RIKEN. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Journal Reference:

  1. Hui-Hui Tan, Asami Makino, Kumar Sudesh, Peter Greimel, Toshihide Kobayashi. Spectroscopic Evidence for the Unusual Stereochemical Configuration of an Endosome-Specific Lipid. Angewandte Chemie International Edition, 2012; 51 (2): 533 DOI: 10.1002/anie.201106470

Cite This Page:

RIKEN. "Odd lipid out may illuminate evolution." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 28 March 2012. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2012/03/120328090611.htm>.
RIKEN. (2012, March 28). Odd lipid out may illuminate evolution. ScienceDaily. Retrieved July 31, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2012/03/120328090611.htm
RIKEN. "Odd lipid out may illuminate evolution." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2012/03/120328090611.htm (accessed July 31, 2014).

Share This




More Fossils & Ruins News

Thursday, July 31, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Rodents Rampant in Gardens Around Louvre

Rodents Rampant in Gardens Around Louvre

AP (July 29, 2014) Food scraps and other items left on the grounds by picnickers brings unwelcome visitors to the grounds of the world famous and popular Louvre Museum in Paris. (July 29) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
London's Famed 'Gherkin' Goes on Sale for 650 Mln

London's Famed 'Gherkin' Goes on Sale for 650 Mln

AFP (July 29, 2014) London's "Gherkin" office tower, one of the landmarks on the British capital's skyline, went on sale for about 650 million ($1.1 billion, 820 million euros) on Tuesday after being placed into receivership. Duration: 00:36 Video provided by AFP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Asteroid's Timing Was 'Colossal Bad Luck' For The Dinosaurs

Asteroid's Timing Was 'Colossal Bad Luck' For The Dinosaurs

Newsy (July 28, 2014) The asteroid that killed the dinosaurs struck at the worst time for them. A new study says that if it hit earlier or later, they might've survived. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Tourists Disappointed to Find Rome Attractions Under Restoration

Tourists Disappointed to Find Rome Attractions Under Restoration

AFP (July 26, 2014) Tourists visiting Italy at the peak of the summer season are disappointed to find some of Rome's most famous attractions being restored and offering limited access. Duration: 01:01 Video provided by AFP
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:

Breaking News:
from the past week

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

    Environment News

    Technology News



    Save/Print:
    Share:

    Free Subscriptions


    Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

    Get Social & Mobile


    Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

    Have Feedback?


    Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
    Mobile: iPhone Android Web
    Follow: Facebook Twitter Google+
    Subscribe: RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
    Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins