Polyamines are essential for the synthesis of 2-ricinoleoyl phosphatidic acid in developing seeds of castor
A 20,000 X g particulate preparation isolated from maturing safflower seeds catalyzed the acylation of 1-acyl-sn-glycerol 3-phosphate with acyl-CoA to form phosphatidate. The specific activity of the reaction exceeded 200 nmol min-1 mg protein-1. Although this preparation was also capable of catalyzing the acylation of sn-glycerol 3-phosphate with acyl-CoA, the hydrolysis of phosphatidate, and the acylation of 1,2-diacylglycerol, phosphatidate was the only major product when the preparation was incubated with 1-acyl-glycerol-3-P and acyl-CoA. The enzyme responsible for this phosphatidate synthesis, 1-acyl-glycerol-3-P acyltransferase, showed a strict acyl-CoA specificity. The relative order of specificity for acyl-CoA was linoleoyl = oleoyl greater than palmitoleoyl greater than elaidoyl greater than cis-vaccenoyl greater than stearoyl = palmitoyl. This observation strongly suggests that the fatty acid composition of position 2 in phosphatidate synthesized in vivo primarily depends on both the acyl-CoA specificity of the 1-acyl-glycerol-3-P acyltransferase and the fatty acid composition of the acyl-CoA pool in the cell. Thus, the absence of saturated fatty acids at position 2 of safflower triacylglycerol may be explained in terms of the acyl-CoA specificity of the 1-acyl-glycerol-3-P acyltransferase. The fatty acid moiety esterified at position 1 of glycerol-3-P also affected the effectiveness of the reaction. The 1-acyl-glycerol-3-P acyltransferase utilized 1-acyl-glycerol-3-P molecular species in the following order of effectiveness: linoleoyl = oleoyl greater than palmitoyl. With a rise in incubation temperature, the initial rates of acylation with unsaturated acyl-CoA species increased more rapidly than those for saturated acyl-CoA species. A similar tendency was observed for saturated and unsaturated acyl acceptors. These data suggest that affinity of the acyltransferase for substrates may vary in response to changes in temperature, and that 1-acyl-glycerol-3-P acyltransferase may be involved in the alteration of the individual fatty acid compositions at positions 1 and 2 of glycerolipids in tissues grown at different temperatures. Based on these findings, further metabolism of 1-acyl-glycerol-3-P acyltransferase products could be the major factor determining the non-random distribution of fatty acids in safflower triacylglycerol.