Sphingosine in plants--more riddles from the Sphinx?

The New phytologist (2011-11-11)
M Nurul Islam, Marie-Pierre Jacquemot, Sylvie Coursol, Carl K-Y Ng
RESUMEN

• Sphingolipids are emerging as important mediators of cellular and developmental processes in plants, and advances in lipidomics have yielded a wealth of information on the composition of plant sphingolipidomes. Studies using Arabidopsis thaliana showed that the dihydroxy long-chain base (LCB) is desaturated at carbon position 8 (d18:1(Δ8)). This raised important questions on the role(s) of sphingosine (d18:1(Δ4)) and sphingosine-1-phosphate (d18:1(Δ4)-P) in plants, as these LCBs appear to be absent in A. thaliana. • Here, we surveyed 21 species from various phylogenetic groups to ascertain the position of desaturation of the d18:1 LCB, in order to gain further insights into the prevalence of d18:1(Δ4) and d18:1(Δ8) in plants. • Our results showed that d18:1(Δ8) is common in gymnosperms, whereas d18:1(Δ4) is widespread within nonseed land plants and the Poales, suggesting that d18:1(Δ4) is evolutionarily more ancient than d18:1(Δ8) in Viridiplantae. Additionally, phylogenetic analysis indicated that the sphingolipid Δ4-desaturases from Viridiplantae form a monophyletic group, with Angiosperm sequences falling into two distinct clades, the Eudicots and the Poales. • We propose that efforts to elucidate the role(s) of d18:1(Δ4) and d18:1(Δ4)-P should focus on genetically tractable Viridiplantae species where the d18:1 LCB is desaturated at carbon position 4.

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