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Hoffmann, R. A wiki for the life sciences where authorship matters. Nature Genetics (2008)

Structural characterization of a novel class of glycophosphosphingolipids from the protozoan Leptomonas samueli.

Aqueous phenol extraction of the lower trypanosomatid Leptomonas samueli released into the aqueous layer a chloroform/methanol/water-soluble glycophosphosphingolipid fraction. Alkaline degradation and purification by gel filtration chromatography resulted in a tetrasaccharide (phosphatidylinositol (PI)-oligosaccharide A), and a pentasaccharide (PI-oligosaccharide B), each containing 2 mol of 2-aminoethylphosphonate and 1 mol of phosphate. Nuclear magnetic resonance spectroscopy and fast atom bombardment-mass spectrometry suggested that the structure of PI-oligosaccharide A is [formula: see text] and that of PI-oligosaccharide B is as shown. [formula: see text] Both compounds contain an inositol unit linked to ceramide via a phosphodiester bridge. The major aliphatic components of the ceramide portion are stearic acid, lignoceric acid, and C20-phytosphingosine. These novel glycolipids fall within the glycosylated phosphatidylinositol (GPI) family, since they contain the core structure Man alpha (1-->4)GlcNH2 alpha (1-->6)myo-inositol-1-PO4, which is also found in the glycoinositolphospholipids and lipophosphoglycan of Leishmania spp., the L. major promastigote surface protease, the glycosylphosphatidylinositol anchor of Trypanosoma brucei variant surface glycoprotein, and the lipopeptidophosphoglycan of Trypanosoma cruzi. The glycophosphosphingolipids of Leptomonas have features in common with the glycolipids of both Leishmania and T. cruzi, resembling the former by the alpha (1-->3) linkage of mannose to the GPI core, while the 2-aminoethylphosphonate substituent on O-6 of glucosamine and the presence of ceramide in place of glycerol lipids is more reminiscent of T. cruzi. Thus these data lend some support to the hypothesis that both T. cruzi and Leishmania evolved from a Leptomonas-like ancestor.[1]


  1. Structural characterization of a novel class of glycophosphosphingolipids from the protozoan Leptomonas samueli. Previato, J.O., Mendonça-Previato, L., Jones, C., Wait, R., Fournet, B. J. Biol. Chem. (1992) [Pubmed]
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