Does Litomosoides sigmodontis synthesize dimethylethanolamine from choline?

PMID 17892618


Juvenile female Litomosoides sigmodontis secrete a protein (Juv-p120) highly modified with dimethylethanolamine (DMAE). In an attempt to establish the source of this decoration worms were pulsed with [3H]-choline and [3H]-ethanolamine and the radio-isotope labelled products analysed. Both isotope labels were successfully taken up by the worms, as demonstrated by labelling of phospholipids with [3H]-choline, being predominantly incorporated into phosphatidylcholine and [3H]-ethanolamine into phosphatidylethanolamine. Isotope labelling of phosphatidylethanolamine was particularly striking with the worms taking up approximately 30 times as much labelled ethanolamine as choline. It was possible to detect faint labelling of Juv-p120 with [3H]-ethanolamine after prolonged exposure periods but, unlike the situation with the phospholipids, it was much more readily labelled with [3H]-choline. When pulsing with [3H]-ethanolamine it was also possible to detect isotope-labelled phosphatidylcholine, which may ultimately account for the low levels of labelling of Juv-p120. Overall our results raise the previously unconsidered but intriguing possibility that in L. sigmodontis, choline may be the precursor of DMAE.