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The biosynthesis of phospholipids is linked to the cell cycle in a model eukaryote.

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Vítová, Milada 
Lanta, Vojtěch 
Čížková, Mária 
Jakubec, Martin 
Rise, Frode 


The structural challenges faced by eukaryotic cells through the cell cycle are key for understanding cell viability and proliferation. We tested the hypothesis that the biosynthesis of structural lipids is linked to the cell cycle. If true, this would suggest that the cell's structure is important for progress through and perhaps even control of the cell cycle. Lipidomics (31P NMR and MS), proteomics (Western immunoblotting) and transcriptomics (RT-qPCR) techniques were used to profile the lipid fraction and characterise aspects of its metabolism at seven stages of the cell cycle of the model eukaryote, Desmodesmus quadricauda. We found considerable, transient increases in the abundance of phosphatidylethanolamine during the G1 phase (+35%, ethanolamine phosphate cytidylyltransferase increased 2·5×) and phosphatidylglycerol (+100%, phosphatidylglycerol synthase increased 22×) over the G1/pre-replication phase boundary. The relative abundance of phosphatidylcholine fell by ~35% during the G1. N-Methyl transferases for the conversion of phosphatidylethanolamine into phosphatidylcholine were not found in the de novo transcriptome profile, though a choline phosphate transferase was found, suggesting that the Kennedy pathway is the principal route for the synthesis of PC. The fatty acid profiles of the four most abundant lipids suggested that these lipids were not generally converted between one another. This study shows for the first time that there are considerable changes in the biosynthesis of the three most abundant phospholipid classes in the normal cell cycle of D. quadricauda, by margins large enough to elicit changes to the physical properties of membranes.



Cell cycle, Cell division, Cell structure, Desmodesmus quadricauda, Green algae, Lipid composition, Lipid metabolism, Cell Cycle, Choline, Eukaryotic Cells, Lipid Metabolism, Phospholipids

Journal Title

Biochim Biophys Acta Mol Cell Biol Lipids

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Elsevier BV
Biotechnology and Biological Sciences Research Council (BB/M027252/1)
We would like to thank Dr F. Kryuchkov for making the mass spectrometry instruments available and for training MJ. SF would like to thank Dr S. Liddell for helpful discussions. KB would like to thank Dr. M. Tichý for help with transcriptome assembly. Funding from the RCN (grant application 240063), BBSRC (BB/M027252/1 and BB/T014210/1) and the National Programme of Sustainability I, ID: LO1416 is gratefully acknowledged.