The Anionic Phospholipids of Bovine Pulmonary Surfactant

Catherine J. Markin, Stephen B. Hall

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

3 Scopus citations


The only known compositional change in the phospholipids (PL) of pulmonary surfactant in response to a physiologic stimulus occurs around the time of birth. In most species, the predominant anionic PL changes from phosphatidylinositol (PtdIns) to phosphatidylglycerol (PtdGro). Because prior studies have shown that the change in the headgroup itself is functionally insignificant, we tested the hypothesis that the PtdIns and PtdGro contain different diacyl pairs. Experiments used electrospray-ionization mass spectrometry to determine the molecular species in PtdIns, PtdGro, and phosphatidylcholine (PtdCho) in surfactant from newborn calves and cows. The profiles for the two anionic PL were distinct. The PtdIns contained long, unsaturated fatty acid chains and no disaturated species. The PtdGro more closely resembled the profile from PtdCho. For each headgroup, the molecular species for calf and cow were similar. The differences between the two anionic PL indicate that the switch from PtdIns to PtdGro during maturation involves more than simple substitution of the headgroup, and suggest that the functional significance of the shift may reflect the different pool of diacyl pairs.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)49-57
Number of pages9
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 2021


  • Dipalmitoyl phosphatidylcholine
  • Dipalmitoyl phosphatidylglycerol
  • Electrospray mass spectrometry
  • Lung
  • Phosphatidylglycerol
  • Phosphatidylinositol

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biochemistry
  • Organic Chemistry
  • Cell Biology


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