Plasmalogens are glycerophospholipids with a hallmark sn-1 vinyl ether bond. These lipids are found in animals and some bacteria and have proposed membrane organization, signaling, and antioxidant roles. We discovered the plasmanylethanolamine desaturase activity that is essential for vinyl ether bond formation in a bacterial enzyme, CarF, which is a homolog of the human enzyme TMEM189. CarF mediates light-induced carotenogenesis in Myxococcus xanthus, and plasmalogens participate in sensing photooxidative stress through singlet oxygen. TMEM189 and other animal homologs could functionally replace CarF in M. xanthus, and knockout of TMEM189 in a human cell line eliminated plasmalogens. Discovery of the human plasmanylethanolamine desaturase will spur further study of plasmalogen biogenesis, functions, and roles in disease...

 

 

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