NUSBLAT alejandro David
Genome analysis of sphingolipid metabolism-related genes in Tetrahymena thermophila and identification of a fatty acid 2-hydroxylase involved in the sexual stage of conjugation
CID, NICOLAS G.; PUCA, GERVASIO; NUDEL, CLARA B.; NUSBLAT, ALEJANDRO D.
WILEY-BLACKWELL PUBLISHING, INC
Año: 2020 vol. 114 p. 775 - 788
Sphingolipids are bioactive lipids present in all eukaryotes. Tetrahymena thermophila is a ciliate that displays remarkable sphingolipid moieties, that is, the unusual phosphonate-linked headgroup ceramides, present in membranes. To date, no identification has been made in this organism of the functions or related genes implicated in sphingolipid metabolism. By gathering information from the T. thermophila genome database together with sphingolipid moieties and enzymatic activities reported in other Tetrahymena species, we were able to reconstruct the putative de novo sphingolipid metabolic pathway in T. thermophila. Orthologous genes of 11 enzymatic steps involved in the biosynthesis and degradation pathways were retrieved. No genes related to glycosphingolipid or phosphonosphingolipid headgroup transfer were found, suggesting that both conserved and innovative mechanisms are used in ciliate. The knockout of gene TTHERM_00463850 allowed to identify the gene encoding a putative fatty acid 2-hydroxylase, which is involved in the biosynthesis pathway. Knockout cells have shown several impairments in the sexual stage of conjugation since different mating types of knockout strains failed to form cell pairs and complete the conjugation process. This fatty acid 2-hydroxylase gene is the first gene of a sphingolipid metabolic pathway to be identified in ciliates and have a critical role in their sexual stage.