Plasma membrane - Endoplasmic reticulum contact sites regulate phosphatidylcholine synthesis

Shabnam Tavassoli, Jesse T. Chao, Barry P. Young, Ruud C. Cox, William A. Prinz, Anton I.P.M. De Kroon, Christopher J.R. Loewen

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

79 Scopus citations


Synthesis of phospholipids, sterols and sphingolipids is thought to occur at contact sites between the endoplasmic reticulum (ER) and other organelles because many lipid-synthesizing enzymes are enriched in these contacts. In only a few cases have the enzymes been localized to contacts in vivo and in no instances have the contacts been demonstrated to be required for enzyme function. Here, we show that plasma membrane (PM) - ER contact sites in yeast are required for phosphatidylcholine synthesis and regulate the activity of the phosphatidylethanolamine N-methyltransferase enzyme, Opi3. Opi3 activity requires Osh3, which localizes to PM-ER contacts where it might facilitate in trans catalysis by Opi3. Thus, membrane contact sites provide a structural mechanism to regulate lipid synthesis.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)434-440
Number of pages7
JournalEMBO Reports
Issue number5
StatePublished - May 2013
Externally publishedYes


  • membrane contact sites
  • Opi3
  • Osh3
  • Pah1
  • phosphatidylcholine synthesis

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biochemistry
  • Molecular Biology
  • Genetics


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