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Esterification of dolichol in rat liver.

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      In the various subcellular fractions of rat liver 45-75% of the total dolichol was esterified with a fatty acid. The esterification reaction was localized exclusively in the microsomes, and the transferase activity is 3-fold higher in the cation-insensitive smooth microsomes than in other microsomal subfractions. Although fatty acyl-CoAs tested served as substrates, palmitoyl-CoA was the most rapidly utilized. None of the phosphatidylcholine or phosphatidylethanolamine species tested could be utilized to esterify dolichol with a fatty acid, indicating the absence of transacylation. alpha-Saturated dolichols were esterified at a higher rate than their alpha-unsaturated counterparts. Albumin and low concentrations of Triton X-100 activated the esterification reaction, which was not dependent on mono- or divalent cations, ATP, or CoA. The sensitivity of the transferase activity to trypsin indicates localization of the enzyme(s) involved on the outer surface of microsomes (i.e. the cytoplasmic surface of the endoplasmic reticulum), as is also the case for enzymes of dolichol biosynthesis. Transferase activity was detected in all tissues examined but at a much lower level than in liver and testis. The patterns of fatty acids in dolichol esters of different organelles exhibited some specificity. Labeling in vivo indicated that esterification of dolichol may play a role in targeting this lipid from the endoplasmic reticulum to lysosomes.

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