Publication Details

Steiner, R., Saied, E. M., Othman, A., Arenz, C., Maccarone, A. T., Poad, B. L. J., Blanksby, S. J., von Eckardstein, A. & Hornemann, T. (2016). Elucidating the chemical structure of native 1-deoxysphingosine. Journal of Lipid Research, 57 (7), 1194-1203.


The 1-deoxysphingolipids (1-deoxySLs) are formed by an alternate substrate usage of the enzyme, serine-palmitoyltransferase, and are devoid of the C1-OH-group present in canonical sphingolipids. Pathologically elevated 1-deoxySL levels are associated with the rare inherited neuropathy, HSAN1, and diabetes type 2 and might contribute to β cell failure and the diabetic sensory neuropathy. In analogy to canonical sphingolipids, it was assumed that 1-deoxySLs also bear a (4E) double bond, which is normally introduced by sphingolipid delta(4)-desaturase 1. This, however, was never confirmed. We therefore supplemented HEK293 cells with isotope-labeled D3-1-deoxysphinganine and compared the downstream formed D3-1-deoxysphingosine (1-deoxySO) to a commercial synthetic SPH m18:1(4E)(3OH) standard. Both compounds showed the same m/z, but differed in their RPLC retention time and atmospheric pressure chemical ionization in-source fragmentation, suggesting that the two compounds are structural isomers. Using dimethyl disulfide derivatization followed by MS2 as well as differential-mobility spectrometry combined with ozone-induced dissociation MS, we identified the carbon-carbon double bond in native 1-deoxySO to be located at the (Δ14) position. Comparing the chromatographic behavior of native 1-deoxySO to chemically synthesized SPH m18:1(14Z) and (14E) stereoisomers assigned the native compound to be SPH m18:1(14Z). This indicates that 1-deoxySLs are metabolized differently than canonical sphingolipids.

Grant Number

ARC/DP150101715, ARC/LP110200648