The last step of ex novo ceramide biosynthesis consists of the conversion of dihydroceramide into ceramide catalyzed by sphingolipid Δ4-desaturase DEGS1. DEGS1 variants were found to be responsible for heterogeneous clinical pictures belonging to the family of hypomyelinating leukodystrophies. To investigate the mechanisms making such variants pathogenic, we designed a procedure for the efficient detection of desaturase activity in vitro using LC-MS/MS and prepared a suitable cell model knocking out DEGS1 in HEK-293T cells through CRISPR-Cas9 genome editing (KO-DES-HEK). Transfecting KO-DES-HEK cells with DEGS1 variants, we found that their transcripts were all overexpressed as much as the WT transcripts, while the levels of cognate protein were 40%-80% lower. In vitro desaturase activity was lost by many variants except L175Q and N255S, which maintain a catalytic efficiency close to 12% of the WT enzyme. Metabolic labeling of KO-DES-HEK with deuterated palmitate followed by LC-MS/MS analysis of the formed sphingolipids revealed that the ceramide/dihydroceramide and sphingomyelin/dihydrosphingomyelin ratios were low and could be reverted by the overexpression of WT DEGS1 as well as of L175Q and N255S variants, but not by the overexpression of all other variants. Similar analyses performed on fibroblasts from a patient heterozygous for the N255S variant showed very low variant DEGS1 levels and a low ratio between the same unsaturated and saturated sphingolipids formed upon metabolic labeling, notwithstanding the residual activity measured at high substrate and homogenate protein concentrations. We conclude that loss of function and reduced protein levels are both relevant in disease pathogenesis.

Loss of function and reduced levels of sphingolipid desaturase DEGS1 variants are both relevant in disease mechanism

Trinchera M.
Ultimo
2024-01-01

Abstract

The last step of ex novo ceramide biosynthesis consists of the conversion of dihydroceramide into ceramide catalyzed by sphingolipid Δ4-desaturase DEGS1. DEGS1 variants were found to be responsible for heterogeneous clinical pictures belonging to the family of hypomyelinating leukodystrophies. To investigate the mechanisms making such variants pathogenic, we designed a procedure for the efficient detection of desaturase activity in vitro using LC-MS/MS and prepared a suitable cell model knocking out DEGS1 in HEK-293T cells through CRISPR-Cas9 genome editing (KO-DES-HEK). Transfecting KO-DES-HEK cells with DEGS1 variants, we found that their transcripts were all overexpressed as much as the WT transcripts, while the levels of cognate protein were 40%-80% lower. In vitro desaturase activity was lost by many variants except L175Q and N255S, which maintain a catalytic efficiency close to 12% of the WT enzyme. Metabolic labeling of KO-DES-HEK with deuterated palmitate followed by LC-MS/MS analysis of the formed sphingolipids revealed that the ceramide/dihydroceramide and sphingomyelin/dihydrosphingomyelin ratios were low and could be reverted by the overexpression of WT DEGS1 as well as of L175Q and N255S variants, but not by the overexpression of all other variants. Similar analyses performed on fibroblasts from a patient heterozygous for the N255S variant showed very low variant DEGS1 levels and a low ratio between the same unsaturated and saturated sphingolipids formed upon metabolic labeling, notwithstanding the residual activity measured at high substrate and homogenate protein concentrations. We conclude that loss of function and reduced protein levels are both relevant in disease pathogenesis.
2024
2024
brain lipids; ceramides; dihydroceramide; glycolipids; hypomyelinating leukodystrophy 18; lipidomics; mass spectrometry; sphingolipid biosynthesis; sphingolipids
Cas, M. D.; Montavoci, L.; Pasini, C.; Caretti, A.; Penati, S.; Martinelli, C.; Gianelli, U.; Casati, S.; Nardecchia, F.; Torella, A.; Brunetti-Pierri, N.; Trinchera, M.
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Utilizza questo identificativo per citare o creare un link a questo documento: https://hdl.handle.net/11383/2170612
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