Alternation in the Glycolipid Transfer Protein Expression Causes Changes in the Cellular Lipidome

A1 Journal article (refereed)

Internal Authors/Editors

Publication Details

List of Authors: Matti A. Kjellberg, Anders P. E. Backman, Henna Ohvo-Rekilä, Peter Mattjus
Publisher: Public Library of Science
Publication year: 2014
Journal: PLoS ONE
Journal acronym: PLOS ONE
Volume number: 9
Issue number: 5
Start page: 1
End page: 15
Number of pages: 15
ISSN: 1932-6203
eISSN: 1932-6203


The glycolipid transfer protein (GLTP) catalyzes the binding and transport of glycolipids, but not phospholipids or neutral lipids. With its all-alpha helical fold, it is the founding member for a new superfamily, however its biological role still remains unclear. We have analyzed changes in the HeLa cell lipidome in response to down-and up-regulation of GLTP expression. We used metabolic labeling and thin layer chromatography analysis, complemented with a lipidomics mass spectroscopic approach. HeLa cells were treated with GLTP siRNA or were transiently overexpressing the GLTP gene. We identified eight different lipid classes that changed as a result of the GLTP down-or up-regulation treatments; glucosylceramide, lactosylceramide, globotriaosylceramide, ceramide, sphingomyelin, cholesterol-esters, diacylglycerol and phosphatidylserine. We discovered that the amount of globotriaosylceramide (Gb(3)) was extensively lowered after down-regulation of GLTP. Further, an up-regulation of GLTP caused a substantial increase in both the Gb(3) and glucosylceramide levels compared to the controls. Total galactosylceramide levels remained unchanged. Both lactosylceramide and ceramide showed small changes, an increase with increasing GLTP and a decrease in the HeLa cell GLTP knockdowns. The cholesterol-esters and diacylglycerol masses increased in cells that had upregulated GLTP protein levels, wheras down-regulation did not affect their amounts. For the glycerophospholipids, phosphatidylserine was the only species that was lower in GLTP overexpressing cells. Phosphatidylethanolamine, phosphatidylglyerol and phosphatidylinositol remained unaltered. A total of 142 lipid species were profiled and quantified using shotgun lipidomics analyses. This work provides for the first time insights into how alternations in the levels of a protein that binds and transfers glycolipids affects the cellular lipid metabolism. We discuss the observed changes in the lipidome and how these relate to GLTP. We suggest, that GLTP not only could be a significant player in cellular sphingolipid metabolism, but also could have a much broader role in the overall lipid metabolism.

Last updated on 2019-15-10 at 02:35