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Heavy isotope-labeled ethanolamine and serine as well as exogenous PE and PS species were used to study trafficking of phosphatidylethanolamine (PE) and -serine (PS) molecular species between the endoplasmic reticulum (ER) and mitochondria in HeLa cells. Import of both endogenous and exogenous PS to IMM was a relatively slow process (T1/2=several hours), but depended on the acyl chains. In particular, the 38:4 and 38:5 species were imported more efficiently compared to the other PS species. Knock-down of Mitofusin 2 or Mitostatin had no detectable effect on PS import to mitochondria, suggesting that the ER-mitochondria contacts regulated by these proteins are not essential. Knock-down of PS synthase 1 inhibited PS decarboxylation, suggesting that import of PS to mitochondria is coupled to its synthesis. Also the export of PE from IMM to microsomes is a relatively slow process, but again depends markedly on the acyl chain structure. Most notably, the polyunsaturated 38:4 and 38:5 PE species were less efficiently exported, which together with rapid import of the PS precursors most probably explains their enrichment in IMM. PE synthesized via the CDP-ethanolamine was also imported to IMM, but most of the PE in this membrane derives from imported PS. In contrast to PS, all PC species made in Golgi/ER translocated similarly and rapidly to IMM. In conclusion, selective translocation of PS species and PS-derived PE species between ER and mitochondria plays a major role in phospholipid homeostasis of these organelles. Copyright © 2012 Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved.


Ville Kainu, Martin Hermansson, Satu Hänninen, Kati Hokynar, Pentti Somerharju. Import of phosphatidylserine to and export of phosphatidylethanolamine molecular species from mitochondria. Biochimica et biophysica acta. 2013 Feb;1831(2):429-37

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PMID: 23159415

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