ijms-logo

Journal Browser

Journal Browser

Special Issue "Sphingolipid Metabolism and Signaling in Diseases"

A special issue of International Journal of Molecular Sciences (ISSN 1422-0067). This special issue belongs to the section "Biochemistry".

Deadline for manuscript submissions: closed (31 May 2021).

Special Issue Editor

Prof. Dr. Paola Giussani
E-Mail Website
Guest Editor
Department of Medical Biotechnology and Translational Medicine, 20090 Segrate (MI), Italy
Interests: sphingolipids; sphingosine-1-phosphate; ceramide; signaling; cancer; multiple sclerosis

Special Issue Information

Dear Colleagues,

It is now well known that sphingolipids are not only ubiquitous components of cell membranes but also have emerged as bioactive molecules involved in the control of cell fate. Sphingolipids have been shown to be involved in signal transduction and, consequently, in the regulation of a huge number of physiological and pathophysiological processes such as cell proliferation, survival, death, differentiation, migration, and invasiveness. The dysregulation of sphingolipid metabolism and signaling is associated with and contributes to the pathogenesis of numerous pathologies, including inflammation, cancer, diabetes, neurodegenerative diseases, and cystic fibrosis. The control of sphingolipid levels can be achieved through the regulation of specific enzymes of their metabolism as well as of the specific transporters or receptors involved in their transport within or outside the cells. The exact molecular mechanisms mediated by sphingolipids to modulate the cellular effects are still not completely understood, and new knowledge on the metabolism and signaling of sphingolipids will help in further understanding the role of sphingolipids in a variety of physiopathological conditions.

For the Special Issue “Sphingolipids Metabolism and Signaling in Diseases”, we welcome your contributions in the form of original research and review articles on all aspects of sphingolipids and their role in physiological and pathophysiological metabolic processes.

Prof. Dr. Paola Giussani
Guest Editor

Manuscript Submission Information

Manuscripts should be submitted online at www.mdpi.com by registering and logging in to this website. Once you are registered, click here to go to the submission form. Manuscripts can be submitted until the deadline. All papers will be peer-reviewed. Accepted papers will be published continuously in the journal (as soon as accepted) and will be listed together on the special issue website. Research articles, review articles as well as short communications are invited. For planned papers, a title and short abstract (about 100 words) can be sent to the Editorial Office for announcement on this website.

Submitted manuscripts should not have been published previously, nor be under consideration for publication elsewhere (except conference proceedings papers). All manuscripts are thoroughly refereed through a single-blind peer-review process. A guide for authors and other relevant information for submission of manuscripts is available on the Instructions for Authors page. International Journal of Molecular Sciences is an international peer-reviewed open access semimonthly journal published by MDPI.

Please visit the Instructions for Authors page before submitting a manuscript. There is an Article Processing Charge (APC) for publication in this open access journal. For details about the APC please see here. Submitted papers should be well formatted and use good English. Authors may use MDPI's English editing service prior to publication or during author revisions.

Keywords

  • sphingolipids
  • sphingosine-1-phosphate
  • ceramide
  • sphingolipid-mediated signaling
  • cancer
  • neurodegenerative diseases
  • inflammatory diseases
  • diabetes
  • cystic fibrosis

Published Papers (18 papers)

Order results
Result details
Select all
Export citation of selected articles as:

Research

Jump to: Review

Article
Stereoselective Synthesis of Novel Sphingoid Bases Utilized for Exploring the Secrets of Sphinx
Int. J. Mol. Sci. 2021, 22(15), 8171; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijms22158171 - 29 Jul 2021
Viewed by 203
Abstract
Sphingolipids are ubiquitous in eukaryotic plasma membranes and play major roles in human and animal physiology and disease. This class of lipids is usually defined as being derivatives of sphingosine, a long-chain 1,3-dihydroxy-2-amino alcohol. Various pathological conditions such as diabetes or neuropathy have [...] Read more.
Sphingolipids are ubiquitous in eukaryotic plasma membranes and play major roles in human and animal physiology and disease. This class of lipids is usually defined as being derivatives of sphingosine, a long-chain 1,3-dihydroxy-2-amino alcohol. Various pathological conditions such as diabetes or neuropathy have been associated with changes in the sphingolipidome and an increased biosynthesis of structurally altered non-canonical sphingolipid derivatives. These unusual or non-canonical sphingolipids hold great promise as potential diagnostic markers. However, due to their low concentrations and the unavailability of suitable standards, the research to explore the secret of this class of ‘Sphinx’ lipids is ultimately hampered. Therefore, the development of efficient and facile syntheses of standard compounds is a key endeavor. Here, we present various chemical approaches for stereoselective synthesis and in-depth chemical characterization of a set of novel sphingoid bases which were recently utilized as valuable tools to explore the metabolism and biophysical properties of sphingolipids, but also to develop efficient analytical methods for their detection and quantification. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Sphingolipid Metabolism and Signaling in Diseases)
Article
Skin Mast Cell-Driven Ceramides Drive Early Apoptosis in Pre-Symptomatic Eczema in Mice
Int. J. Mol. Sci. 2021, 22(15), 7851; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijms22157851 - 22 Jul 2021
Viewed by 238
Abstract
Atopic dermatitis (AD or eczema) is the most common chronic inflammatory skin disorder worldwide. Ceramides (Cer) maintain skin barrier functions, which are disrupted in lesional skin of AD patients. However, Cer status during the pre-lesional phase of AD is not well defined. Using [...] Read more.
Atopic dermatitis (AD or eczema) is the most common chronic inflammatory skin disorder worldwide. Ceramides (Cer) maintain skin barrier functions, which are disrupted in lesional skin of AD patients. However, Cer status during the pre-lesional phase of AD is not well defined. Using a variation of human AD-like preclinical model consisting of a 7-day topical exposure to ovalbumin (OVA), or control, we observed elevation of Cer C16 and C24. Skin mRNA quantification of enzymes involved in Cer metabolism [Cer synthases (CerS) and ceramidases (Asah1/Asah2)], which revealed augmented CerS 4, 5 and 6 and Asah1. Given the overall pro-apoptotic nature of Cer, local apoptosis was assessed, then quantified using novel morphometric measurements of cleaved caspase (Casp)-3-restricted immunofluorescence signal in skin samples. Apoptosis was induced in response to OVA. Because apoptosis may occur downstream of endoplasmic reticulum (ER) stress, we measured markers of ER stress-induced apoptosis and found elevated skin-associated CHOP protein upon OVA treatment. We previously substantiated the importance of mast cells (MC) in initiating early skin inflammation. OVA-induced Cer increase and local apoptosis were prevented in MC-deficient mice; however, they were restored following MC reconstitution. We propose that the MC/Cer axis is an essential pathogenic feature of pre-lesional AD, whose targeting may prevent disease development. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Sphingolipid Metabolism and Signaling in Diseases)
Show Figures

Figure 1

Article
Short Chain Fatty Acid Acetate Increases TNFα-Induced MCP-1 Production in Monocytic Cells via ACSL1/MAPK/NF-κB Axis
Int. J. Mol. Sci. 2021, 22(14), 7683; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijms22147683 - 19 Jul 2021
Viewed by 321
Abstract
Short-chain fatty acid (SCFA) acetate, a byproduct of dietary fiber metabolism by gut bacteria, has multiple immunomodulatory functions. The anti-inflammatory role of acetate is well documented; however, its effect on monocyte chemoattractant protein-1 (MCP-1) production is unknown. Similarly, the comparative effect of SCFA [...] Read more.
Short-chain fatty acid (SCFA) acetate, a byproduct of dietary fiber metabolism by gut bacteria, has multiple immunomodulatory functions. The anti-inflammatory role of acetate is well documented; however, its effect on monocyte chemoattractant protein-1 (MCP-1) production is unknown. Similarly, the comparative effect of SCFA on MCP-1 expression in monocytes and macrophages remains unclear. We investigated whether acetate modulates TNFα-mediated MCP-1/CCL2 production in monocytes/macrophages and, if so, by which mechanism(s). Monocytic cells were exposed to acetate with/without TNFα for 24 h, and MCP-1 expression was measured. Monocytes treated with acetate in combination with TNFα resulted in significantly greater MCP-1 production compared to TNFα treatment alone, indicating a synergistic effect. On the contrary, treatment with acetate in combination with TNFα suppressed MCP-1 production in macrophages. The synergistic upregulation of MCP-1 was mediated through the activation of long-chain fatty acyl-CoA synthetase 1 (ACSL1). However, the inhibition of other bioactive lipid enzymes [carnitine palmitoyltransferase I (CPT I) or serine palmitoyltransferase (SPT)] did not affect this synergy. Moreover, MCP-1 expression was significantly reduced by the inhibition of p38 MAPK, ERK1/2, and NF-κB signaling. The inhibition of ACSL1 attenuated the acetate/TNFα-mediated phosphorylation of p38 MAPK, ERK1/2, and NF-κB. Increased NF-κB/AP-1 activity, resulting from acetate/TNFα co-stimulation, was decreased by ACSL1 inhibition. In conclusion, this study demonstrates the proinflammatory effects of acetate on TNF-α-mediated MCP-1 production via the ACSL1/MAPK/NF-κB axis in monocytic cells, while a paradoxical effect was observed in THP-1-derived macrophages. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Sphingolipid Metabolism and Signaling in Diseases)
Show Figures

Figure 1

Article
The Glucosylceramide Synthase Inhibitor PDMP Causes Lysosomal Lipid Accumulation and mTOR Inactivation
Int. J. Mol. Sci. 2021, 22(13), 7065; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijms22137065 - 30 Jun 2021
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 493
Abstract
For many years, the biology of glycosphingolipids was elucidated with the help of glucosylceramide synthase (GCS) inhibitors such as 1-phenyl-2-decanoylamino-3-morpholino-1-propanol (PDMP). Additionally, PDMP gained interest because of its chemosensitizing effects. Several studies have successfully combined PDMP and anti-cancer drugs in the context of [...] Read more.
For many years, the biology of glycosphingolipids was elucidated with the help of glucosylceramide synthase (GCS) inhibitors such as 1-phenyl-2-decanoylamino-3-morpholino-1-propanol (PDMP). Additionally, PDMP gained interest because of its chemosensitizing effects. Several studies have successfully combined PDMP and anti-cancer drugs in the context of cancer therapy. However, the mechanism of action of PDMP is not fully understood and seems to go beyond glycolipid inhibition. Here, we used a functionalized sphingosine analogue (pacSph) to investigate the acute effects of PDMP on cellular sphingolipid distribution and found that PDMP, but not other GCS inhibitors, such as ND-DNJ (also called Miglustat), induced sphingolipid accumulation in lysosomes. This effect could be connected to defective export from lysosome, as monitored by the prolonged lysosomal staining of sphingolipids as well as by a delay in the metabolic conversion of the pacSph precursor. Additionally, other lipids such as lysobisphosphatidic acid (LBPA) and cholesterol were enriched in lysosomes upon PDMP treatment in a time-dependent manner. We could further correlate early LBPA enrichment with dissociation of the mechanistic target of rapamycin (mTOR) from lysosomes followed by nuclear translocation of its downtream target, transcription factor EB (TFEB). Altogether, we report here a timeline of lysosomal lipid accumulation events and mTOR inactivation arising from PDMP treatment. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Sphingolipid Metabolism and Signaling in Diseases)
Show Figures

Figure 1

Article
Extracellular Sphingosine-1-Phosphate Downstream of EGFR Increases Human Glioblastoma Cell Survival
Int. J. Mol. Sci. 2021, 22(13), 6824; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijms22136824 - 25 Jun 2021
Viewed by 399
Abstract
Sphingosine-1-phosphate (S1P) is a crucial mediator involved in the progression of different cancers, including glioblastoma multiforme (GBM), the most frequent and deadly human brain tumor, characterized by extensive invasiveness and rapid cell growth. Most of GBMs overexpress the epidermal growth factor receptor (EGFR), [...] Read more.
Sphingosine-1-phosphate (S1P) is a crucial mediator involved in the progression of different cancers, including glioblastoma multiforme (GBM), the most frequent and deadly human brain tumor, characterized by extensive invasiveness and rapid cell growth. Most of GBMs overexpress the epidermal growth factor receptor (EGFR), and we investigated the possible link between S1P and EGFR signaling pathways, focusing on its role in GBM survival, using the U87MG human cell line overexpressing EGFR (EGFR+). We previously demonstrated that EGFR+ cells have higher levels of extracellular S1P and increased sphingosine kinase-1 (SK1) activity than empty vector expressing cells. Notably, we demonstrated that EGFR+ cells are resistant to temozolomide (TMZ), the standard chemotherapeutic drug in GBM treatment, and the inhibition of SK1 or S1P receptors made EGFR+ cells sensitive to TMZ; moreover, exogenous S1P reverted this effect, thus involving extracellular S1P as a survival signal in TMZ resistance in GBM cells. In addition, both PI3K/AKT and MAPK inhibitors markedly reduced cell survival, suggesting that the enhanced resistance to TMZ of EGFR+ cells is dependent on the increased S1P secretion, downstream of the EGFR-ERK-SK1-S1P pathway. Altogether, our study provides evidence of a functional link between S1P and EGFR signaling pathways enhancing the survival properties of GBM cells. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Sphingolipid Metabolism and Signaling in Diseases)
Show Figures

Figure 1

Article
Inhibition of Ceramide Synthesis Reduces α-Synuclein Proteinopathy in a Cellular Model of Parkinson’s Disease
Int. J. Mol. Sci. 2021, 22(12), 6469; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijms22126469 - 16 Jun 2021
Viewed by 642
Abstract
Parkinson’s disease (PD) is a proteinopathy associated with the aggregation of α-synuclein and the formation of lipid–protein cellular inclusions, named Lewy bodies (LBs). LB formation results in impaired neurotransmitter release and uptake, which involve membrane traffic and require lipid synthesis and metabolism. Lipids, [...] Read more.
Parkinson’s disease (PD) is a proteinopathy associated with the aggregation of α-synuclein and the formation of lipid–protein cellular inclusions, named Lewy bodies (LBs). LB formation results in impaired neurotransmitter release and uptake, which involve membrane traffic and require lipid synthesis and metabolism. Lipids, particularly ceramides, are accumulated in postmortem PD brains and altered in the plasma of PD patients. Autophagy is impaired in PD, reducing the ability of neurons to clear protein aggregates, thus worsening stress conditions and inducing neuronal death. The inhibition of ceramide synthesis by myriocin (Myr) in SH-SY5Y neuronal cells treated with preformed α-synuclein fibrils reduced intracellular aggregates, favoring their sequestration into lysosomes. This was associated with TFEB activation, increased expression of TFEB and LAMP2, and the cytosolic accumulation of LC3II, indicating that Myr promotes autophagy. Myr significantly reduces the fibril-related production of inflammatory mediators and lipid peroxidation and activates NRF2, which is downregulated in PD. Finally, Myr enhances the expression of genes that control neurotransmitter transport (SNARE complex, VMAT2, and DAT), whose progressive deficiency occurs in PD neurodegeneration. The present study suggests that counteracting the accumulation of inflammatory lipids could represent a possible therapeutic strategy for PD. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Sphingolipid Metabolism and Signaling in Diseases)
Show Figures

Figure 1

Article
The Antipsychotic Risperidone Alters Dihydroceramide and Ceramide Composition and Plasma Membrane Function in Leukocytes In Vitro and In Vivo
Int. J. Mol. Sci. 2021, 22(8), 3919; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijms22083919 - 10 Apr 2021
Viewed by 484
Abstract
Atypical or second-generation antipsychotics are used in the treatment of psychosis and behavioral problems in older persons with dementia. However, these pharmaceutical drugs are associated with an increased risk of stroke in such patients. In this study, we evaluated the effects of risperidone [...] Read more.
Atypical or second-generation antipsychotics are used in the treatment of psychosis and behavioral problems in older persons with dementia. However, these pharmaceutical drugs are associated with an increased risk of stroke in such patients. In this study, we evaluated the effects of risperidone treatment on phospholipid and sphingolipid composition and lipid raft function in peripheral blood mononuclear cells (PBMCs) of older patients (mean age >88 years). The results showed that the levels of dihydroceramides, very-long-chain ceramides, and lysophosphatidylcholines decreased in PBMCs of the risperidone-treated group compared with untreated controls. These findings were confirmed by in vitro assays using human THP-1 monocytes. The reduction in the levels of very-long-chain ceramides and dihydroceramides could be due to the decrease in the expression of fatty acid elongase 3, as observed in THP-1 monocytes. Moreover, risperidone disrupted lipid raft domains in the plasma membrane of PBMCs. These results indicated that risperidone alters phospholipid and sphingolipid composition and lipid raft domains in PBMCs of older patients, potentially affecting multiple signaling pathways associated with these membrane domains. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Sphingolipid Metabolism and Signaling in Diseases)
Show Figures

Figure 1

Article
Differential Expression of Sphingolipid Metabolizing Enzymes in Spontaneously Hypertensive Rats: A Possible Substrate for Susceptibility to Brain and Kidney Damage
Int. J. Mol. Sci. 2021, 22(7), 3796; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijms22073796 - 06 Apr 2021
Viewed by 515
Abstract
Alterations in the metabolism of sphingolipids, a class of biologically active molecules in cell membranes with direct effect on vascular homeostasis, are increasingly recognized as important determinant in different vascular disorders. However, it is not clear whether sphingolipids are implicated in the pathogenesis [...] Read more.
Alterations in the metabolism of sphingolipids, a class of biologically active molecules in cell membranes with direct effect on vascular homeostasis, are increasingly recognized as important determinant in different vascular disorders. However, it is not clear whether sphingolipids are implicated in the pathogenesis of hypertension-related cerebrovascular and renal damage. In this study, we evaluated the existence of possible abnormalities related to the sphingolipid metabolism in the brain and kidneys of two well validated spontaneously hypertensive rat strains, the stroke-prone (SHRSP) and the stroke-resistant (SHRSR) models, as compared to the normotensive Wistar Kyoto (WKY) rat strain. Our results showed a global alteration in the metabolism of sphingolipids in both cerebral and renal tissues of both hypertensive strains as compared to the normotensive rat. However, few defects, such as reduced expression of enzymes involved in the metabolism/catabolism of sphingosine-1-phosphate and in the de novo biosynthetic pathways, were exclusively detected in the SHRSP. Although further studies are necessary to fully understand the significance of these findings, they suggest that defects in specific lipid molecules and/or their related metabolic pathways may likely contribute to the pathogenesis of hypertensive target organ damage and may eventually serve as future therapeutic targets to reduce the vascular consequences of hypertension. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Sphingolipid Metabolism and Signaling in Diseases)
Show Figures

Figure 1

Article
Silencing of Sphingosine kinase 1 Affects Maturation Pathways in Mouse Neonatal Cardiomyocytes
Int. J. Mol. Sci. 2021, 22(7), 3616; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijms22073616 - 31 Mar 2021
Viewed by 674
Abstract
Sphingosine kinase-1 (Sphk1) and its product, sphingosine-1-phosphate (S1P) are important regulators of cardiac growth and function. Numerous studies have reported that Sphk1/S1P signaling is essential for embryonic cardiac development and promotes pathological cardiac hypertrophy in adulthood. However, no studies have addressed the role [...] Read more.
Sphingosine kinase-1 (Sphk1) and its product, sphingosine-1-phosphate (S1P) are important regulators of cardiac growth and function. Numerous studies have reported that Sphk1/S1P signaling is essential for embryonic cardiac development and promotes pathological cardiac hypertrophy in adulthood. However, no studies have addressed the role of Sphk1 in postnatal cardiomyocyte (CM) development so far. The present study aimed to assess the molecular mechanism(s) by which Sphk1 silencing might influence CMs development and hypertrophy in vitro. Neonatal mouse CMs were transfected with siRNA against Sphk1 or negative control, and subsequently treated with 1 µM angiotensin II (AngII) or a control buffer for 24 h. The results of RNASeq analysis revealed that diminished expression of Sphk1 significantly accelerated neonatal CM maturation by inhibiting cell proliferation and inducing developmental pathways in the stress (AngII-induced) conditions. Importantly, similar effects were observed in the control conditions. Enhanced maturation of Sphk1-lacking CMs was further confirmed by the upregulation of the physiological hypertrophy-related signaling pathway involving Akt and downstream glycogen synthase kinase 3 beta (Gsk3β) downregulation. In summary, we demonstrated that the Sphk1 silencing in neonatal mouse CMs facilitated their postnatal maturation in both physiological and stress conditions. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Sphingolipid Metabolism and Signaling in Diseases)
Show Figures

Graphical abstract

Article
Ceramide Synthase 2 Null Mice Are Protected from Ovalbumin-Induced Asthma with Higher T Cell Receptor Signal Strength in CD4+ T Cells
Int. J. Mol. Sci. 2021, 22(5), 2713; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijms22052713 - 08 Mar 2021
Viewed by 598
Abstract
(1) Background: six mammalian ceramide synthases (CerS1–6) determine the acyl chain length of sphingolipids (SLs). Although ceramide levels are increased in murine allergic asthma models and in asthmatic patients, the precise role of SLs with specific chain lengths is still unclear. The role [...] Read more.
(1) Background: six mammalian ceramide synthases (CerS1–6) determine the acyl chain length of sphingolipids (SLs). Although ceramide levels are increased in murine allergic asthma models and in asthmatic patients, the precise role of SLs with specific chain lengths is still unclear. The role of CerS2, which mainly synthesizes C22–C24 ceramides, was investigated in immune responses elicited by airway inflammation using CerS2 null mice. (2) Methods: asthma was induced in wild type (WT) and CerS2 null mice with ovalbumin (OVA), and inflammatory cytokines and CD4 (cluster of differentiation 4)+ T helper (Th) cell profiles were analyzed. We also compared the functional capacity of CD4+ T cells isolated from WT and CerS2 null mice. (3) Results: CerS2 null mice exhibited milder symptoms and lower Th2 responses than WT mice after OVA exposure. CerS2 null CD4+ T cells showed impaired Th2 and increased Th17 responses with concomitant higher T cell receptor (TCR) signal strength after TCR stimulation. Notably, increased Th17 responses of CerS2 null CD4+ T cells appeared only in TCR-mediated, but not in TCR-independent, treatment. (4) Conclusions: altered Th2/Th17 immune response with higher TCR signal strength was observed in CerS2 null CD4+ T cells upon TCR stimulation. CerS2 and very-long chain SLs may be therapeutic targets for Th2-related diseases such as asthma. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Sphingolipid Metabolism and Signaling in Diseases)
Show Figures

Figure 1

Article
A Bioassay Using a Pentadecanal Derivative to Measure S1P Lyase Activity
Int. J. Mol. Sci. 2021, 22(3), 1438; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijms22031438 - 01 Feb 2021
Viewed by 496
Abstract
Sphingosine-1-phosphate (S1P) is a unique lipid ligand binding to S1P receptors to transduce various cell survival or proliferation signals via small G proteins. S1P lyase (S1PL) is the specific enzyme that degrades S1P to phosphoethanolamine and (2E)-hexadecenal and therefore regulates S1P levels. S1PL [...] Read more.
Sphingosine-1-phosphate (S1P) is a unique lipid ligand binding to S1P receptors to transduce various cell survival or proliferation signals via small G proteins. S1P lyase (S1PL) is the specific enzyme that degrades S1P to phosphoethanolamine and (2E)-hexadecenal and therefore regulates S1P levels. S1PL also degrades dihydrosphingosine-1-phosphate (Sa1P), with a higher affinity to produce hexadecanal. Here, we developed a newly designed assay using a C17-Sa1P substrate that degrades into pentadecanal and phosphoethanolamine. For higher sensitivity in pentadecanal analysis, we developed a quantitative protocol as well as a 5,5-dimethyl cyclohexanedione (5,5-dimethyl CHD) derivatization method. The derivatization conditions were optimized for the reaction time, temperature, and concentrations of the 5,5-dimethyl CHD reagent, acetic acid, and ammonium acetate. The S1PL reaction in the cell lysate after spiking 20 µM of C17-Sa1P for 20 min was linear to the total protein concentrations of 50 µg. The S1PL levels (4 pmol/mg/min) were readily detected in this HPLC with fluorescence detection (λex = 366 nm, λem = 455 nm). The S1PL-catalyzed reaction was linear over 30 min and yielded a Km value of 2.68 μM for C17-Sa1P. This new method was validated to measure the S1PL activity of mouse embryonal carcinoma cell lines of the standard cell (F9-0), S1PL knockdown cells (F9-2), and S1PL-overexpressed cells (F9-4). Furthermore, we treated F9-4 cells with different S1PL inhibitors such as FTY720, 4-deoxypyridoxine (DOP), and the deletion of pyridoxal-5-phosphate (P5P), an essential cofactor for S1PL activity, and observed a significant decrease in pentadecanal relative to the untreated cells. In conclusion, we developed a highly sensitive S1PL assay using a C17-Sa1P substrate for pentadecanal quantification for application in the characterization of S1PL activity in vitro. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Sphingolipid Metabolism and Signaling in Diseases)
Show Figures

Figure 1

Article
A Novel Selective Sphingosine Kinase 2 Inhibitor, HWG-35D, Ameliorates the Severity of Imiquimod-Induced Psoriasis Model by Blocking Th17 Differentiation of Naïve CD4 T Lymphocytes
Int. J. Mol. Sci. 2020, 21(21), 8371; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijms21218371 - 08 Nov 2020
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 669
Abstract
Sphingosine kinases (SK) catalyze the phosphorylation of sphingosine to generate sphingosine-1-phosphate. Two isoforms of SK (SK1 and SK2) exist in mammals. Previously, we showed the beneficial effects of SK2 inhibition, using ABC294640, in a psoriasis mouse model. However, ABC294640 also induces the degradation [...] Read more.
Sphingosine kinases (SK) catalyze the phosphorylation of sphingosine to generate sphingosine-1-phosphate. Two isoforms of SK (SK1 and SK2) exist in mammals. Previously, we showed the beneficial effects of SK2 inhibition, using ABC294640, in a psoriasis mouse model. However, ABC294640 also induces the degradation of SK1 and dihydroceramide desaturase 1 (DES1). Considering these additional effects of ABC294640, we re-examined the efficacy of SK2 inhibition in an IMQ-induced psoriasis mouse model using a novel SK2 inhibitor, HWG-35D, which exhibits nM potency and 100-fold selectivity for SK2 over SK1. Topical application of HWG-35D ameliorated IMQ-induced skin lesions and normalized the serum interleukin-17A levels elevated by IMQ. Application of HWG-35D also decreased skin mRNA levels of interleukin-17A, K6 and K16 genes induced by IMQ. Consistent with the previous data using ABC294640, HWG-35D also blocked T helper type 17 differentiation of naïve CD4+ T cells with concomitant reduction of SOCS1. Importantly, HWG-35D did not affect SK1 or DES1 expression levels. These results reaffirm an important role of SK2 in the T helper type 17 response and suggest that highly selective and potent SK2 inhibitors such as HWG-35D might be of therapeutic use for the treatment of psoriasis. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Sphingolipid Metabolism and Signaling in Diseases)
Show Figures

Figure 1

Review

Jump to: Research

Review
Novelty of Sphingolipids in the Central Nervous System Physiology and Disease: Focusing on the Sphingolipid Hypothesis of Neuroinflammation and Neurodegeneration
Int. J. Mol. Sci. 2021, 22(14), 7353; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijms22147353 - 08 Jul 2021
Viewed by 390
Abstract
For decades, lipids were confined to the field of structural biology and energetics as they were considered only structural constituents of cellular membranes and efficient sources of energy production. However, with advances in our understanding in lipidomics and improvements in the technological approaches, [...] Read more.
For decades, lipids were confined to the field of structural biology and energetics as they were considered only structural constituents of cellular membranes and efficient sources of energy production. However, with advances in our understanding in lipidomics and improvements in the technological approaches, astounding discoveries have been made in exploring the role of lipids as signaling molecules, termed bioactive lipids. Among these bioactive lipids, sphingolipids have emerged as distinctive mediators of various cellular processes, ranging from cell growth and proliferation to cellular apoptosis, executing immune responses to regulating inflammation. Recent studies have made it clear that sphingolipids, their metabolic intermediates (ceramide, sphingosine-1-phosphate, and N-acetyl sphingosine), and enzyme systems (cyclooxygenases, sphingosine kinases, and sphingomyelinase) harbor diverse yet interconnected signaling pathways in the central nervous system (CNS), orchestrate CNS physiological processes, and participate in a plethora of neuroinflammatory and neurodegenerative disorders. Considering the unequivocal importance of sphingolipids in CNS, we review the recent discoveries detailing the major enzymes involved in sphingolipid metabolism (particularly sphingosine kinase 1), novel metabolic intermediates (N-acetyl sphingosine), and their complex interactions in CNS physiology, disruption of their functionality in neurodegenerative disorders, and therapeutic strategies targeting sphingolipids for improved drug approaches. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Sphingolipid Metabolism and Signaling in Diseases)
Show Figures

Graphical abstract

Review
Dietary Sphingolipids Contribute to Health via Intestinal Maintenance
Int. J. Mol. Sci. 2021, 22(13), 7052; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijms22137052 - 30 Jun 2021
Viewed by 478
Abstract
As sphingolipids are constituents of the cell and vacuole membranes of eukaryotic cells, they are a critical component acquired from our daily diets. In the present review, we highlight the knowledge regarding how dietary sphingolipids affect our health, particularly our intestinal health. Animal- [...] Read more.
As sphingolipids are constituents of the cell and vacuole membranes of eukaryotic cells, they are a critical component acquired from our daily diets. In the present review, we highlight the knowledge regarding how dietary sphingolipids affect our health, particularly our intestinal health. Animal- and plant-derived foods contain, respectively, sphingomyelin (SM) and glucosylceramide (GlcCer) as their representative sphingolipids, and the sphingoid base as a specific structure of sphingolipids also differs depending upon the source and class. For example, sphingosine is predominant among animal sphingolipids, and tri-hydroxy bases are present in free ceramide (Cer) from plants and fungi. Dietary sphingolipids exhibit low absorption ratios; however, they possess various functions. GlcCer facilitates improvements in intestinal impairments, lipid metabolisms, and skin disorders, and SM can exert both similar and different effects compared to those elicited by GlcCer. We discuss the digestion, absorption, metabolism, and function of sphingolipids while focused on the structure. Additionally, we also review old and new classes in the context of current advancements in analytical instruments. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Sphingolipid Metabolism and Signaling in Diseases)
Show Figures

Figure 1

Review
A Comprehensive Review: Sphingolipid Metabolism and Implications of Disruption in Sphingolipid Homeostasis
Int. J. Mol. Sci. 2021, 22(11), 5793; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijms22115793 - 28 May 2021
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 1008
Abstract
Sphingolipids are a specialized group of lipids essential to the composition of the plasma membrane of many cell types; however, they are primarily localized within the nervous system. The amphipathic properties of sphingolipids enable their participation in a variety of intricate metabolic pathways. [...] Read more.
Sphingolipids are a specialized group of lipids essential to the composition of the plasma membrane of many cell types; however, they are primarily localized within the nervous system. The amphipathic properties of sphingolipids enable their participation in a variety of intricate metabolic pathways. Sphingoid bases are the building blocks for all sphingolipid derivatives, comprising a complex class of lipids. The biosynthesis and catabolism of these lipids play an integral role in small- and large-scale body functions, including participation in membrane domains and signalling; cell proliferation, death, migration, and invasiveness; inflammation; and central nervous system development. Recently, sphingolipids have become the focus of several fields of research in the medical and biological sciences, as these bioactive lipids have been identified as potent signalling and messenger molecules. Sphingolipids are now being exploited as therapeutic targets for several pathologies. Here we present a comprehensive review of the structure and metabolism of sphingolipids and their many functional roles within the cell. In addition, we highlight the role of sphingolipids in several pathologies, including inflammatory disease, cystic fibrosis, cancer, Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s disease, and lysosomal storage disorders. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Sphingolipid Metabolism and Signaling in Diseases)
Show Figures

Figure 1

Review
The Role of Fatty Acids in Ceramide Pathways and Their Influence on Hypothalamic Regulation of Energy Balance: A Systematic Review
Int. J. Mol. Sci. 2021, 22(10), 5357; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijms22105357 - 19 May 2021
Viewed by 579
Abstract
Obesity is a global health issue for which no major effective treatments have been well established. High-fat diet consumption is closely related to the development of obesity because it negatively modulates the hypothalamic control of food intake due to metaflammation and lipotoxicity. The [...] Read more.
Obesity is a global health issue for which no major effective treatments have been well established. High-fat diet consumption is closely related to the development of obesity because it negatively modulates the hypothalamic control of food intake due to metaflammation and lipotoxicity. The use of animal models, such as rodents, in conjunction with in vitro models of hypothalamic cells, can enhance the understanding of hypothalamic functions related to the control of energy balance, thereby providing knowledge about the impact of diet on the hypothalamus, in addition to targets for the development of new drugs that can be used in humans to decrease body weight. Recently, sphingolipids were described as having a lipotoxic effect in peripheral tissues and the central nervous system. Specifically, lipid overload, mainly from long-chain saturated fatty acids, such as palmitate, leads to excessive ceramide levels that can be sensed by the hypothalamus, triggering the dysregulation of energy balance control. However, no systematic review has been undertaken regarding studies of sphingolipids, particularly ceramide and sphingosine-1-phosphate (S1P), the hypothalamus, and obesity. This review confirms that ceramides are associated with hypothalamic dysfunction in response to metaflammation, endoplasmic reticulum (ER) stress, and lipotoxicity, leading to insulin/leptin resistance. However, in contrast to ceramide, S1P appears to be a central satiety factor in the hypothalamus. Thus, our work describes current evidence related to sphingolipids and their role in hypothalamic energy balance control. Hypothetically, the manipulation of sphingolipid levels could be useful in enabling clinicians to treat obesity, particularly by decreasing ceramide levels and the inflammation/endoplasmic reticulum stress induced in response to overfeeding with saturated fatty acids. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Sphingolipid Metabolism and Signaling in Diseases)
Show Figures

Figure 1

Review
Gangliosides as Signaling Regulators in Cancer
Int. J. Mol. Sci. 2021, 22(10), 5076; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijms22105076 - 11 May 2021
Viewed by 486
Abstract
At the plasma membrane, gangliosides, a group of glycosphingolipids, are expressed along with glycosphingolipids, phospholipids, and cholesterol in so-called lipid rafts that interact with signaling receptors and related molecules. Most cancers present abnormalities in the intracellular signal transduction system involved in tumor growth, [...] Read more.
At the plasma membrane, gangliosides, a group of glycosphingolipids, are expressed along with glycosphingolipids, phospholipids, and cholesterol in so-called lipid rafts that interact with signaling receptors and related molecules. Most cancers present abnormalities in the intracellular signal transduction system involved in tumor growth, invasion, and metastasis. To date, the roles of gangliosides as regulators of signal transduction have been reported in several cancer types. Gangliosides can be expressed by the exogenous ganglioside addition, with their endogenous expression regulated at the enzymatic level by targeting specific glycosyltransferases. Accordingly, the relationship between changes in the composition of cell surface gangliosides and signal transduction has been investigated by controlling ganglioside expression. In cancer cells, several types of signaling molecules are positively or negatively regulated by ganglioside expression levels, promoting malignant properties. Moreover, antibodies against gangliosides have been shown to possess cytotoxic effects on ganglioside-expressing cancer cells. In the present review, we highlight the involvement of gangliosides in the regulation of cancer cell signaling, and we explore possible therapies targeting ganglioside-expressing cancer. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Sphingolipid Metabolism and Signaling in Diseases)
Show Figures

Figure 1

Review
Application of the Antibody-Inducing Activity of Glycosphingolipids to Human Diseases
Int. J. Mol. Sci. 2021, 22(7), 3776; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijms22073776 - 06 Apr 2021
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 607
Abstract
Glycosphingolipids (GSLs) are composed of a mono-, di-, or oligosaccharide and a ceramide and function as constituents of cell membranes. Various molecular species of GSLs have been identified in mammalian cells due to differences in the structures of oligosaccharides. The oligosaccharide structure can [...] Read more.
Glycosphingolipids (GSLs) are composed of a mono-, di-, or oligosaccharide and a ceramide and function as constituents of cell membranes. Various molecular species of GSLs have been identified in mammalian cells due to differences in the structures of oligosaccharides. The oligosaccharide structure can vary depending on cell lineage, differentiation stage, and pathology; this property can be used as a cell identification marker. Furthermore, GSLs are involved in various aspects of the immune response, such as cytokine production, immune signaling, migration of immune cells, and antibody production. GSLs containing certain structures exhibit strong immunogenicity in immunized animals and promote the production of anti-GSL antibodies. By exploiting this property, it is possible to generate antibodies that recognize the fine oligosaccharide structure of specific GSLs or glycoproteins. In our study using artificially synthesized GSLs (artGSLs), we found that several structural features are correlated with the antibody-inducing activity of GSLs. Based on these findings, we designed artGSLs that efficiently induce the production of antibodies accompanied by class switching and developed several antibodies that recognize not only certain glycan structures of GSLs but also those of glycoproteins. This review comprehensively introduces the immune activities of GSLs and their application as pharmaceuticals. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Sphingolipid Metabolism and Signaling in Diseases)
Show Figures

Figure 1

Back to TopTop