Long-chain bases (LCBs) are the precursors to ceramide and sphingolipids in eukaryotic cells. They are formed by the action of serine palmitoyl-CoA transferase (SPT), a complex of integral membrane proteins located in the endoplasmic reticulum. SPT activity is negatively regulated by Orm proteins to prevent the toxic overaccumulation of LCBs. Here we show that overaccumulation of LCBs in yeast results in their conversion to a hitherto undescribed LCB derivative, an LCB vinyl ether. The LCB vinyl ether is predominantly formed from phytosphingosine (PHS) as revealed by conversion of odd chain length tracers C17-dihydrosphingosine and C17-PHS into the corresponding LCB vinyl ether derivative. PHS vinyl ether formation depends on ongoing acetyl-CoA synthesis, and its levels are elevated when the LCB degradative pathway is blocked by deletion of the major LCB kinase, LCB4, or the LCB phosphate lyase, DPL1. PHS vinyl ether formation thus appears to constitute a shunt for the LCB phosphate- and lyase-dependent degradation of LCBs. Consistent with a role of PHS vinyl ether formation in LCB detoxification, the lipid is efficiently exported from the cells.
- Mass spectrometry
- Saccharomyces cerevisiae