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J Biol Chem. 2001 Nov 23;276(47):43994-4002. Epub 2001 Sep 6.

A novel inhibitor of ceramide trafficking from the endoplasmic reticulum to the site of sphingomyelin synthesis.

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Department of Biochemistry and Cell Biology, National Institute of Infectious Diseases, 1-23-1, Toyama, Shinjuku-ku, Tokyo 162-8640, Japan.

Erratum in

  • J Biol Chem. 2013 Aug 16;288(33):24162.


Ceramide produced at the endoplasmic reticulum (ER) is transported to the lumen of the Golgi apparatus for conversion to sphingomyelin (SM). N-(3-Hydroxy-1-hydroxymethyl-3-phenylpropyl)dodecanamide (HPA-12) is a novel analog of ceramide. Metabolic labeling experiments showed that HPA-12 inhibits conversion of ceramide to SM, but not to glucosylceramide, in Chinese hamster ovary cells. Cultivation of cells with HPA-12 significantly reduced the content of SM. HPA-12 did not inhibit the activity of SM synthase. The inhibition of SM formation by HPA-12 was abrogated when the Golgi apparatus was made to merge with the ER by brefeldin A. Moreover, HPA-12 inhibited redistribution of a fluorescent analog of ceramide, N-(4,4-difluoro-5,7-dimethyl-4-bora-3a,4a-diaza-s-indacene-3-pentanoyl)-d-erythro-sphingosine (C(5)-DMB-Cer), from intracellular membranes to the Golgi region. Among four stereoisomers of the drug, (1R,3S)-HPA-12, [corrected] which resembles natural ceramide stereochemically, was found to be the most active, although (1R,3S)-HPA-12 [corrected] did not affect ER-to-Golgi trafficking of protein. Interestingly, (1R,3S)-HPA-12 [corrected] inhibited conversion of ceramide to SM little in mutant cells defective in an ATP- and cytosol-dependent pathway of ceramide transport. These results indicated that (1R,3S)-HPA-12 [corrected] inhibits ceramide trafficking from the ER to the site of SM synthesis, possibly due to an antagonistic interaction with a ceramide-recognizing factor(s) involved in the ATP- and cytosol-dependent pathway.

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