Lipid Homeostasis Is Maintained by Dual Targeting of the Mitochondrial PE Biosynthesis Enzyme to the ER

Jonathan R. Friedman, Muthukumar Kannan, Alexandre Toulmay, Calvin H. Jan, Jonathan S. Weissman, William A. Prinz, Jodi Nunnari

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

64 Scopus citations


Spatial organization of phospholipid synthesis in eukaryotes is critical for cellular homeostasis. The synthesis of phosphatidylcholine (PC), the most abundant cellular phospholipid, occurs redundantly via the ER-localized Kennedy pathway and a pathway that traverses the ER and mitochondria via membrane contact sites. The basis of the ER-mitochondrial PC synthesis pathway is the exclusive mitochondrial localization of a key pathway enzyme, phosphatidylserine decarboxylase Psd1, which generates phosphatidylethanolamine (PE). We find that Psd1 is localized to both mitochondria and the ER. Our data indicate that Psd1-dependent PE made at mitochondria and the ER has separable cellular functions. In addition, the relative organellar localization of Psd1 is dynamically modulated based on metabolic needs. These data reveal a critical role for ER-localized Psd1 in cellular phospholipid homeostasis, question the significance of an ER-mitochondrial PC synthesis pathway to cellular phospholipid homeostasis, and establish the importance of fine spatial regulation of lipid biosynthesis for cellular functions. Friedman et al. provide evidence that, contrary to previous assumptions, the phospholipid biosynthesis enzyme Psd1 is localized to both mitochondria and the ER to generate functionally distinct pools of phosphatidylethanolamine. This suggests that, in addition to selective mitochondria-ER lipid transport, localized lipid biosynthesis is significant in organellar identity and function.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)261-270.e6
JournalDevelopmental cell
Issue number2
StatePublished - Jan 22 2018
Externally publishedYes


  • ER
  • ER-mitochondria contacts
  • lipid transport
  • mitochondria
  • phosphatidylserine decarboxylase
  • phospholipid biosynthesis

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Molecular Biology
  • Biochemistry, Genetics and Molecular Biology(all)
  • Developmental Biology
  • Cell Biology


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