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PLoS One. 2013 Jul 5;8(7):e68328. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0068328. Print 2013.

Sphingosine kinase activity is not required for tumor cell viability.

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1
Oncology Research, Amgen Inc., Thousand Oaks, California, USA.

Abstract

Sphingosine kinases (SPHKs) are enzymes that phosphorylate the lipid sphingosine, leading to the formation of sphingosine-1-phosphate (S1P). In addition to the well established role of extracellular S1P as a mitogen and potent chemoattractant, SPHK activity has been postulated to be an important intracellular regulator of apoptosis. According to the proposed rheostat theory, SPHK activity shifts the intracellular balance from the pro-apoptotic sphingolipids ceramide and sphingosine to the mitogenic S1P, thereby determining the susceptibility of a cell to apoptotic stress. Despite numerous publications with supporting evidence, a clear experimental confirmation of the impact of this mechanism on tumor cell viability in vitro and in vivo has been hampered by the lack of suitable tool reagents. Utilizing a structure based design approach, we developed potent and specific SPHK1/2 inhibitors. These compounds completely inhibited intracellular S1P production in human cells and attenuated vascular permeability in mice, but did not lead to reduced tumor cell growth in vitro or in vivo. In addition, siRNA experiments targeting either SPHK1 or SPHK2 in a large panel of cell lines failed to demonstrate any statistically significant effects on cell viability. These results show that the SPHK rheostat does not play a major role in tumor cell viability, and that SPHKs might not be attractive targets for pharmacological intervention in the area of oncology.

PMID:
23861887
PMCID:
PMC3702540
DOI:
10.1371/journal.pone.0068328
[Indexed for MEDLINE]
Free PMC Article
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