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Adv Exp Med Biol. 2010;688:141-55.

Extracellular and intracellular actions of sphingosine-1-phosphate.

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Department of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology, VCU School of Medicine, 1101 E. Marshall Street, 2-011 Sanger Hall, Richmond, Virginia 23298, USA.


Sphingosine-1-phosphate (S1P) is a bioactive lipid mediator with crucial roles in a wide variety of cellular functions across a broad range of organisms. Though a simple molecule in structure, S1P functions are complex. The formation of S1P is catalyzed by one of two sphingosine kinases that have differential cellular distributions as well as both overlapping and opposing functions and which are activated by many different stimuli. S1P can act on a family of G protein-coupled receptors (S1PRs) that are also differentially expressed in different cell types, which influences the cellular responses to S1P. In addition to acting on receptors located on the plasma membrane, S1P can also function inside the cell, independently of S1PRs. It also appears that both the intracellular location and the isotype of sphingosine kinase involved are major determinants of inside-out signaling of S1P in response to many extracellular stimuli. This chapter is focused on the current literature on extracellular and intracellular actions of S1P.

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