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FASEB J. 2000 Nov;14(14):2315-22.

De novo-synthesized ceramide signals apoptosis in astrocytes via extracellular signal-regulated kinase.

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  • 1Department of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology I, School of Biology, Complutense University, 28040 Madrid, Spain.

Abstract

Recent observations support the importance of ceramide synthesis de novo in the induction of apoptosis. However, the downstream targets of de novo-synthesized ceramide are unknown. Here we show that palmitate incorporated into ceramide and induced apoptotic DNA fragmentation in astrocytes. These effects of palmitate were exacerbated when fatty acid breakdown was uncoupled and were not evident in neurons, which show a very low capacity to take up and metabolize palmitate. Palmitate-induced apoptosis of astrocytes was prevented by L-cycloserine and fumonisin B1, two inhibitors of ceramide synthesis de novo, and by PD098059, an inhibitor of the extracellular signal-regulated kinase (ERK) cascade. Accordingly, palmitate activated ERK by a process that was dependent on ceramide synthesis de novo and Raf-1, but independent of kinase suppressor of Ras. Other potential targets of ceramide in the control of cell fate, namely, c-Jun amino-terminal kinase, p38 mitogen-activated protein kinase, and protein kinase B, were not significantly affected in astrocytes exposed to palmitate. Results show that the Raf-1/ERK cascade is the selective downstream target of de novo-synthesized ceramide in the induction of apoptosis in astrocytes and also highlight the importance of ceramide synthesis de novo in apoptosis of astrocytes, which might have pathophysiological relevance.

PMID:
11053253
DOI:
10.1096/fj.00-0122com
[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
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