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J Biol Chem. 2000 Apr 14;275(15):11229-34.

Molecular cloning of the full-length cDNA encoding mouse neutral ceramidase. A novel but highly conserved gene family of neutral/alkaline ceramidases.

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  • 1Department of Bioscience and Biotechnology, Division of Bioresource and Bioenvironmental Sciences, Graduate School Kyushu University, 6-10-1, Hakozaki, Higashi-ku, Fukuoka 812-8581, Japan.


We report here the molecular cloning, sequencing, and expression of the gene encoding the mouse neutral ceramidase, which has been proposed to function in sphingolipid signaling. A full-length cDNA encoding the neutral ceramidase was cloned from a cDNA library of mouse liver using the partial amino acid sequences of the purified mouse liver ceramidase. The open reading frame of 2,268 nucleotides encoded a polypeptide of 756 amino acids having nine putative N-glycosylation sites. Northern blot analysis revealed that the mRNA of the ceramidase was expressed widely in mouse tissues, with especially strong signals found in the liver and kidney. The ceramidase activity of lysates of CHOP cells increased more than 900-fold when the cells were transformed with a plasmid containing the cDNA encoding ceramidase. We also cloned the ceramidase homologue from the cDNA library of mouse brain and found that the sequence of the open reading frame, but not the 5'-noncoding region, was identical to that of the liver. Interestingly, phylogenetic analysis of various ceramidases clearly indicated that neutral/alkaline ceramidases form a novel but highly conserved gene family that is evolutionarily different from lysosomal acid ceramidases.

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