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Biofactors. 2012 Sep-Oct;38(5):329-37. doi: 10.1002/biof.1030. Epub 2012 Jun 7.

Sphingosine-1-phosphate signaling in physiology and diseases.

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  • 1Department of Physiology, Kanazawa University School of Medicine, Kanazawa, Ishikawa, Japan.


Sphingosine-1-phosphate (S1P), which acts as both the extracellular and intracellular messenger, exerts pleiotropic biological activities including regulation of formation of the vasculature, vascular barrier integrity, and lymphocyte trafficking. Many of these S1P actions are mediated by five members of the G protein-coupled S1P receptors (S1P(1) -S1P(5) ) with overlapping but distinct coupling to heterotrimeric G proteins. The biological activities of S1P are based largely on the cellular actions of S1P on migration, adhesion, and proliferation. Notably, S1P often exhibits receptor subtype-specific, bimodal effects in these cellular actions. For example, S1P(1) mediates cell migration toward S1P, that is, chemotaxis, via G(i) /Rac pathway whereas S1P(2) mediates inhibition of migration toward a chemoattractant, that is, chemorepulsion, via G(12/13) /Rho pathway, which induces Rac inhibition. In addition, S1P(1) mediates stimulation of cell proliferation through the G(i) -mediated signaling pathways including phosphatidylinositol 3-kinase (PI3K)/Akt and ERK whereas S1P(2) mediates inhibition of cell proliferation through mechanisms involving G(12/13) /Rho/Rho kinase/PTEN-dependent Akt inhibition. These differential effects of S1P receptor subtypes on migration and proliferation lead to bimodal regulation of various biological responses. An observed biological response is likely determined by an integrated outcome of the counteracting signals input by S1P receptor subtypes. More recent studies identified the new intracellular targets of S1P including the inflammatory signaling molecule TRAF2 and histone deacetylases HDAC1 and HDAC2. These interactions of S1P regulate NF-κB activity and gene expression, respectively. Development of S1P receptor agonists and antagonists with improved receptor subtype-selectivity, inhibitors, or modulators of sphingolipid-metabolizing enzymes, and their optimal drug delivery system provide novel therapeutic tactics.

Copyright © 2012 International Union of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology, Inc.

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