Phospholipase D (PLD) activity in crude or solubilized membranes from mammalian tissues is difficult to detect with the current assay techniques, unless a high radioactive concentration of substrate and/or long incubation times are employed. Generally, the enzyme has to be extracted and partially purified on one column before easy detection of activity. Furthermore, PLD activity in cultured cells can only be detected by the available assay techniques in the presence of guanosine 5´-[γ-thio]triphosphate (GTP[S]) and a cytosolic factor [usually ADP-ribosylation factor (Arf)]. In this paper we report that the use of didecanoyl phosphatidylcholine (C10-PC) in mammalian PLD assays considerably increases the detection limit. C10-PC was compared with the commonly used dipalmitoyl phosphatidylcholine (C16-PC) as a substrate for PLD activity from membranes of human neutrophils, human placenta and pig brain, and from placental cytosol. C10-PC was superior to C16-PC by a factor of 2–28 depending on assay conditions and tissue, and it allowed the detection of GTP[S]-and Arf-stimulated PLD activity without addition of phosphatidylinositol 4,5-bisphosphate.

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