Fatty Acid Composition of Human Myelin Proteolipid Protein in Peroxisomal Disorders


Address correspondence and reprint requests to Dr. O. A. Bizzozero at Biochemistry Department, University of New Mexico, Medical Center, BMSB, 914 Camino de Salud, Albuquerque, NM 87131, U.S.A.


Abstract: Myelin proteolipid protein (PLP) is an acylated protein which contains approximately 2 mol of ester-bound fatty acids. In this study, the amount and composition of fatty acids covalently bound to human myelin PLP were determined during development and in peroxisomal disorders. Palmitic, oleic, and stearic acids accounted for most of the PLP acyl chains. However, in contrast to PLP in other species, human PLP contains relatively more very long chain fatty acids (VLCFA). The fatty acid composition remained essentially unchanged between 1 day and 74 years of age. The total amount of fatty acid bound to PLP was not altered in any of the pathological cases examined. However, in the peroxisomal disorder adrenoleukodystrophy, the proportions of saturated and, to a lesser extent, monounsaturated VLCFA bound to PLP were increased at the expense of oleic acid. Smaller, but significant, changes were observed in adrenomyeloneuropathy. The reduction in the levels of oleic acid was also observed in two other peroxisomal disorders, the cerebrohepatorenal (Zellweger) syndrome and neonatal adrenoleukodystrophy, as well as in the lysosomal disorder Krabbe globoid cell leukodystrophy. However, in these disorders, the decrease in oleic acid occurred at the expense of stearic acid, and not VLCFA. The results indicate that, although a characteristic PLP fatty acid pattern is normally maintained, changes in the acyl chain pool can ultimately be reflected in the fatty acid composition of the protein. The altered PLP-acyl chain pattern in peroxisomal disorders may contribute to the pathophysiology of these devastating disorders.