HC Lee, MP Fellenz-Maloney, M Liscovitch and JK Blusztajn,
Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America, Nov 1993 01
To identify the metabolic pathway that generates choline (Cho) for acetylcholine (AcCho) from its storage pool in membrane phosphatidylcholine (PtdCho), human neuronal cells (LA-N-2) were radioisotopically labeled with 1-O-hexadecyl-2-hydroxy-sn-glycero(3)phospho[14C]choline. The compound was efficiently taken up by the cells and metabolically labelled PtdCho, Cho, AcCho, and phosphocholine pools. In pulse-chase experiments, the specific radioactivities of the metabolites of 1-O-hexadecyl-2-hydroxy-sn-glycero(3)-phospho[14C]choline indicated that it was rapidly acylated to Ptd-Cho and then hydrolyzed first to free Cho and not to phosphocholine or glycerophosphocholine. This Cho was subsequently converted to AcCho and to phosphocholine. In the absence of exogenous Cho, at least 15% of the total cellular AcCho pool was synthesized by this pathway in 1 h. The data demonstrate that the liberation of the free Cho precursor for AcCho synthesis from PtdCho can be accomplished in a one-step process, indicating the involvement of a phospholipase D-type enzyme. In the presence of hemicholinium-3, which inhibits Cho transport, the amount of intracellular [14C]Cho metabolites that accumulated during the chase period was higher than in control cells, indicating that PtdCho hydrolysis liberated Cho directly into the cytoplasm. These data show that cholinergic cells are characterized by an intracellular pathway, catalyzed by a phospholipase D, that generates Cho for AcCho synthesis from PtdCho. Abnormalities in the regulation of this pathway may contribute to selective vulnerability of cholinergic neurons in certain neurodegenerative diseases, e.g., Alzheimer disease.