Functional compartmentalization of the plasma membrane of neurons by a unique acyl chain composition of phospholipids [Lipids]

August 5th, 2014 by Kuge, H., Akahori, K., Yagyu, K.-i., Honke, K.

In neurons, the plasma membrane is functionally separated into several distinct segments. They form these domains by delivering selected components to, and by confining them within, the each segment of the membrane. Although some mechanisms of the delivery are elucidated, that of the confinement is unclear. We show here that 1-oleoyl-2-palmitoyl-phosphatidylcholine (OPPC), a unique molecular species of phospholipids, is concentrated at the protrusion tips of several neuronal culture cells and the presynaptic area of neuronal synapses of the mouse brain. In PC12 cells, NGF-stimulated neuronal differentiation induces a phospholipase A1 activity at the protrusion tips, which co-localizes with the OPPC domain. Inhibition of the phospholipase A1 activity leads to suppression of phospholipid remodeling in the tip membrane and results in disappearance of the OPPC at the tips.In these cells, confinement of dopamine transporter and Gαo proteins to the tip was also disrupted. These findings link the lateral distribution of the molecular species of phospholipids to formation of functional segments in the plasma membrane of neurons and to the mechanism of protein confinement at the synapse.