Differences in membrane acyl phospholipid composition between an endothermic mammal and an ectothermic reptile are not limited to any phospholipid class

Mitchell, T. W., Ekroos, K., Blanksby, Stephen J., Hulbert, A. J., & Else, P. L. (2007) Differences in membrane acyl phospholipid composition between an endothermic mammal and an ectothermic reptile are not limited to any phospholipid class. Journal of Experimental Biology, 210(19), pp. 3440-3450.

View at publisher


This study examined questions concerning differences in the acyl composition of membrane phospholipids that have been linked to the faster rates of metabolic processes in endotherms versus ectotherms. In liver, kidney, heart and brain of the ectothermic reptile, Trachydosaurus rugosus, and the endothermic mammal, Rattus norvegicus, previous findings of fewer unsaturates but a greater unsaturation index (UI) in membranes of the mammal versus those of the reptile were confirmed. Moreover, the study showed that the distribution of phospholipid head-group classes was similar in the same tissues of the reptile and mammal and that the differences in acyl composition were present in all phospholipid classes analysed, suggesting a role for the physical over the chemical properties of membranes in determining the faster rates of metabolic processes in endotherms. The most common phosphatidylcholine (PC) molecules present in all tissues (except brain) of the reptile were 16:0/18:1, 16:0/18:2, 18:0/18:2, 18:1/18:1 and 18:1/18:2, whereas arachidonic acid (20:4), containing PCs 16:0/ 20: 4, 18: 0/ 20: 4, were the common molecules in the mammal. The most abundant phosphatidylethanolamines ( PE) used in the tissue of the reptile were 18:0/18:2, 18:0/20:4, 18:1/18:1, 18:1/18:2 and 18:1/20:4, compared to 16: 0/ 18: 2, 16: 0/ 20: 4, 16: 0/ 22: 6, 18: 0/ 20: 4, 18: 0/ 22: 6 and 18:1/20: 4 in the mammal. UI differences were primarily due to arachidonic acid found in both PC and PEs, whereas docosahexaenoic acid (22:6) was a lesser contributor mainly within PEs and essentially absent in the kidney. The phospholipid composition of brain was more similar in the reptile and mammal compared to those of other tissues.

Impact and interest:

18 citations in Scopus
Search Google Scholar™
16 citations in Web of Science®

Citation counts are sourced monthly from Scopus and Web of Science® citation databases.

These databases contain citations from different subsets of available publications and different time periods and thus the citation count from each is usually different. Some works are not in either database and no count is displayed. Scopus includes citations from articles published in 1996 onwards, and Web of Science® generally from 1980 onwards.

Citations counts from the Google Scholar™ indexing service can be viewed at the linked Google Scholar™ search.

Full-text downloads:

31 since deposited on 26 May 2014
7 in the past twelve months

Full-text downloads displays the total number of times this work’s files (e.g., a PDF) have been downloaded from QUT ePrints as well as the number of downloads in the previous 365 days. The count includes downloads for all files if a work has more than one.

ID Code: 71937
Item Type: Journal Article
Refereed: Yes
Additional URLs:
Keywords: fatty acid, metabolism, lipid, mass spectrometry, glycerophospholipid, reptile, mammal, endothermy, ectothermy, fibroblast plasma-membrane, flight mass-spectrometer, pump molecular, activity, lipid-composition, docosahexaenoic acid, cholesterol dynamics, proton permeability, inner membrane, fatty-acids, metabolism
DOI: 10.1242/jeb.007286
ISSN: 1477-9145 (online) 0022-0949 (print)
Divisions: Current > Schools > School of Chemistry, Physics & Mechanical Engineering
Current > QUT Faculties and Divisions > Science & Engineering Faculty
Copyright Owner: Copyright © 2007 The Company of Biologists Limited
Deposited On: 26 May 2014 00:01
Last Modified: 05 May 2015 19:12

Export: EndNote | Dublin Core | BibTeX

Repository Staff Only: item control page