Plasmalogens are a subclass of glycerophospholipid containing vinyl-ether bond at the sn-1 position of glycerol backbone. Ethanolamine-containing plasmalogens (plasmalogens) are major constituents of cellular membranes in mammalian cells and de novo synthesis of plasmalogens largely contributes to the homeostasis of plasmalogens. Plasmalogen biosynthesis is regulated by a feedback mechanism that senses the plasmalogen level in the inner leaflet of the plasma membrane and regulates the stability of fatty acyl-CoA reductase 1 (Far1), a rate-limiting enzyme for plasmalogen biosynthesis. However, the molecular mechanism underlying the localization of plasmalogens in cytoplasmic leaflet of plasma membrane remains unknown. To address this issue, we attempted to identify a potential transporter of plasmalogens from the outer to the inner leaflet of plasma membrane by focusing on phospholipid flippases, type-IV P-type adenosine triphosphatases (P4-ATPase), localized in the plasma membranes. We herein show that knockdown of ATP8B2 belonging to the class-1 P4-ATPase enhances localization of plasmalogens but not phosphatidylethanolamine in the extracellular leaflet and impairs plasmalogen-dependent degradation of Far1. Furthermore, phosphorylation of protein kinase B (AKT) is downregulated by lowering the expression of ATP8B2, which leads to suppression of cell growth. Taken together, these results suggest that enrichment of plasmalogens in the cytoplasmic leaflet of plasma membranes is mediated by ATP8B2 and this asymmetric distribution of plasmalogens is required for sensing plasmalogens as well as phosphorylation of AKT.
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