Genetic Ablation of Calcium-independent Phospholipase A2γ Leads to Alterations in Hippocampal Cardiolipin Content and Molecular Species Distribution, Mitochondrial Degeneration, Autophagy, and Cognitive Dysfunction

Genetic ablation of calcium-independent phospholipase A2γ (iPLA2γ) results in profound alterations in hippocampal phospholipid metabolism and mitochondrial phospholipid homeostasis resulting in enlarged and degenerating mitochondria leading to autophagy and cognitive dysfunction. Shotgun lipidomics demonstrated multiple alterations in hippocampal lipid metabolism in iPLA2γ−/− mice including: 1) a markedly elevated hippocampal cardiolipin content with an altered molecular species composition characterized by a shift to shorter chain length molecular species; 2) alterations in both choline and ethanolamine glycerophospholipids, including a decreased plasmenylethanolamine content; 3) increased oxidized phosphatidylethanolamine molecular species; and 4) an increased content of ceramides. Electron microscopic examination demonstrated the presence of enlarged heteromorphic lamellar structures undergoing degeneration accompanied by the presence of ubiquitin positive spheroid inclusion bodies. Purification of these enlarged heteromorphic lamellar structures by buoyant density centrifugation and subsequent SDS-PAGE and proteomics identified them as degenerating mitochondria. Collectively, these results identify the obligatory role of iPLA2γ in neuronal mitochondrial lipid metabolism and membrane structure demonstrating that iPLA2γ loss of function results in a mitochondrial neurodegenerative disorder characterized by degenerating mitochondria, autophagy, and cognitive dysfunction.
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