Phosphatidylcholine (PC) is the most abundant component of lipid bilayers and exists in various molecular forms, through combinations of two acylated fatty acids. Arachidonic acid (AA)-containing PC (AA-PC) can be a source of AA, which is a crucial mediator of synaptic transmission and intracellular signaling. However, the distribution of AA-PC within neurons has not been indicated. In the present study, we used imaging mass spectrometry to characterize the distribution of PC species in cultured neurons of superior cervical ganglia. Intriguingly, PC species exhibited a unique distribution that was dependent on the acyl chains at the sn-2 position. In particular, we found that AA-PC is enriched within the axon and is distributed across a proximal-to-distal gradient. Inhibitors of actin dynamics (cytochalasin D and phallacidin) disrupted this gradient. This is the first report of the gradual distribution of AA-PC along the axon and its association with actin dynamics.
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