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Biochim Biophys Acta. 1999 Apr 19;1438(1):1-17.

Signalling sphingomyelinases: which, where, how and why?

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INSERM Unit 466, Laboratoire de Biochimie, Maladies Métaboliques, Institut Louis Bugnard, Bât. L3, C.H.U. Rangueil, 1 Avenue Jean Poulhès, E 9910, Toulouse Cedex 4, France.


A major lipid signalling pathway in mammalian cells implicates the activation of sphingomyelinase (SMase), which upon cell stimulation hydrolyses the ubiquitous sphingophospholipid sphingomyelin to ceramide. This review summarizes our current knowledge on the nature and regulation of signalling SMase(s). Because of the controversy on the identity of this(these) phospholipase(s), the roles of various SMases in cell signalling are discussed. Special attention is also given to the subcellular site of action of signalling SMases and to the cellular factors that positively or negatively control their activity. These regulating agents include lipids (arachidonic acid, diacylglycerol and ceramide), kinases, proteases, glutathione and other proteins.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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