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Biochim Biophys Acta. 2009 Jul;1791(7):684-91. doi: 10.1016/j.bbalip.2009.01.006. Epub 2009 Jan 22.

CERT-mediated trafficking of ceramide.

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  • 1Department of Biochemistry, National Institute of Infectious Diseases, 1-23-1 Toyama, Shinjuku-ku, Tokyo 162-8640, Japan. hanak@nih.go.jp

Abstract

The transport and sorting of lipids from the sites of their synthesis to their appropriate destinations are fundamental for membrane biogenesis. In the synthesis of sphingolipids in mammalian cells, ceramide is newly produced at the endoplasmic reticulum (ER), and transported from the ER to the trans Golgi regions, where it is converted to sphingomyelin. CERT mediates the ER-to-Golgi trafficking of ceramide. CERT contains several functional domains and motifs including i) a START domain capable of catalyzing inter-membrane transfer of ceramide, ii) a pleckstrin homology domain, which serves to target the Golgi apparatus, iii) a FFAT motif which interacts with the ER-resident membrane protein VAP, and iv) a serine-repeat motif, of which hyperphosphorylation down-regulates CERT activity. It has been suggested that CERT extracts ceramide from the ER and carries it to the Golgi apparatus in a non-vesicular manner and that efficient CERT-mediated trafficking of ceramide occurs at membrane contact sites between the ER and the Golgi apparatus.

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