Plasmalogen biosynthesis

Ether lipids are widespread in animal tissues and, of these, the plasmalogens are the most important. In mammals, ether links are virtually exclusively confined to the choline and ethanolamine glycero-lipid classes.

Although the pathway for the formation of ethanolamine (and choline) plasmalogens uses CDP intermediates, there are several points of difference with those for the synthesis of diacylphos-pholipids. First, the ethanolamine (choline) phosphotransferase enzyme uses a plasmalogenic diacylglycerol (1-alkenyl-2-acyl-sn-glycerol). Hajra and his group showed that the starting point for its synthesis was dihydroxyacetone phosphate (see also Section This compound was acylated, the acyl group at position 1 being substituted by a long-chain alcohol and then the keto group at position 2 reduced. The newly created hydroxyl at sn-2 could then be acylated and the phosphate group removed to produce a plasmalogenic diacylglycerol (Fig. 7.7).

It is interesting to note that the acyldihydroxy-acetone phosphate at the start of the pathway can also be reduced to form lysophosphatidate thus

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