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The Road to Quantitative Lipid Biochemistry in Living Cells.

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Iglesias-Artola,  Juan M
Max Planck Institute for Molecular Cell Biology and Genetics, Max Planck Society;

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Nadler,  André
Max Planck Institute for Molecular Cell Biology and Genetics, Max Planck Society;

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Citation

Iglesias-Artola, J. M., & Nadler, A. (2023). The Road to Quantitative Lipid Biochemistry in Living Cells. Accounts of chemical research, 56(7), 810-820. doi:10.1021/acs.accounts.2c00804.


Cite as: https://hdl.handle.net/21.11116/0000-000E-AB5E-9
Abstract
ConspectusTraditional cell biological techniques are not readily suitable for studying lipid signaling events because genetic perturbations are much slower than the interconversion of lipids in complex metabolic networks. For this reason, novel chemical biological approaches have been developed. One approach is to chemically modify a lipid with a so-called "caging group" that renders it inactive, but this cage can be removed photochemically inside cells to release the bioactive molecule. These caged compounds offer unique advantages for studying the kinetics of cellular biochemistry and have been extensively used in the past. However, a limitation of conventional caged compounds is their ability to diffuse freely inside the cell, which does not permit localized activation below optical precision. This poses a challenge for studying lipid signaling as lipid function inside cells is tightly linked to their parent membrane. An ideal lipid probe should, therefore, be restricted to a single organelle membrane or preferentially to a single leaflet. We first demonstrated the plasma-membrane-specific photorelease of fatty acids by employing sulfonated caging groups. Using these caged fatty acid probes we demonstrated that lipid localization determines signaling outcome. Generalizing this approach, we designed a so-called "click cage" that can be coupled to lipids and offers the possibility to attach organelle targeting groups via click chemistry. Using this strategy, we have synthesized plasma membrane, lysosomal, mitochondria, and endoplasmic-reticulum-targeted lipids that can be used to dissect organelle-specific signaling events. To reduce the synthetic effort associated with generating caged compounds, we designed a coumarin triflate reagent that allows the direct functionalization of phosphate- or carboxylate-containing compounds. With this novel reagent, we synthesized a small library of photocaged G-protein-coupled receptor (GPCR) ligands to study the underlying lipid signaling dynamics. Most recently, we have focused on quantifying the kinetics of lipid signaling for different diacylglycerol (DAG) species using plasma-membrane-targeted caged DAGs. Using this approach, we quantitatively measured lipid-protein affinities and lipid transbilayer dynamics in living cells. After analyzing DAGs with different acyl chain length and saturation degree, we discovered that affinities can vary by up to an order of magnitude. This finding clearly shows that cells are able to distinguish between individual DAG species, thereby demonstrating that lipid diversity matters in cellular signal processing. Although the recent advances have yielded valuable tools to study lipid signaling, challenges remain on specifically targeting the different leaflets of organelle membranes. Furthermore, it is necessary to simplify the experimental approaches required for parametrizing and corroborating quantitative kinetic models of lipid signaling. In the future, we envision that the application of leaflet-specific caged lipids to model membrane systems will be of crucial importance for understanding lipid asymmetry.