13C- and 15N-Labeling Strategies Combined with Mass Spectrometry Comprehensively Quantify Phospholipid Dynamics in C. elegans.

Publication Type:

Journal Article


PloS one, Volume 10, Issue 11, p.e0141850 (2015)


Proteomics Core Facility


Membranes define cellular and organelle boundaries, a function that is critical to all living systems. Like other biomolecules, membrane lipids are dynamically maintained, but current methods are extremely limited for monitoring lipid dynamics in living animals. We developed novel strategies in C. elegans combining 13C and 15N stable isotopes with mass spectrometry to directly quantify the replenishment rates of the individual fatty acids and intact phospholipids of the membrane. Using multiple measurements of phospholipid dynamics, we found that the phospholipid pools are replaced rapidly and at rates nearly double the turnover measured for neutral lipid populations. In fact, our analysis shows that the majority of membrane lipids are replaced each day. Furthermore, we found that stearoyl-CoA desaturases (SCDs), critical enzymes in polyunsaturated fatty acid production, play an unexpected role in influencing the overall rates of membrane maintenance as SCD depletion affected the turnover of nearly all membrane lipids. Additionally, the compromised membrane maintenance as defined by LC-MS/MS with SCD RNAi resulted in active phospholipid remodeling that we predict is critical to alleviate the impact of reduced membrane maintenance in these animals. Not only have these combined methodologies identified new facets of the impact of SCDs on the membrane, but they also have great potential to reveal many undiscovered regulators of phospholipid metabolism.