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J Biol Chem. 2012 Nov 23;287(48):40198-204. doi: 10.1074/jbc.C112.404012. Epub 2012 Oct 12.

Mammalian ORMDL proteins mediate the feedback response in ceramide biosynthesis.

Author information

1
James Graham Brown Cancer Center, Louisville, KY 40202, USA.

Abstract

BACKGROUND:

The yeast Orm1/2 proteins regulate ceramide biosynthesis.

RESULTS:

Depletion of the mammalian Orm1/2 homologues, ORMDL1-3, eliminates the negative feedback of exogenous ceramide on ceramide biosynthesis in HeLa cells.

CONCLUSION:

ORMDL proteins are the primary regulators of ceramide biosynthesis in mammalian cells.

SIGNIFICANCE:

Therapeutically manipulating levels of the pro-death lipid, ceramide, requires a molecular understanding of its regulation. The mammalian ORMDL proteins are orthologues of the yeast Orm proteins (Orm1/2), which are regulators of ceramide biosynthesis. In mammalian cells, ceramide is a proapoptotic signaling sphingolipid, but it is also an obligate precursor to essential higher order sphingolipids. Therefore levels of ceramide are expected to be tightly controlled. We tested the three ORMDL isoforms for their role in homeostatically regulating ceramide biosynthesis in mammalian cells. Treatment of cells with a short chain (C6) ceramide or sphingosine resulted in a dramatic inhibition of ceramide biosynthesis. This inhibition was almost completely eliminated by ORMDL knockdown. This establishes that the ORMDL proteins mediate the feedback regulation of ceramide biosynthesis in mammalian cells. The ORMDL proteins are functionally redundant. Knockdown of all three isoforms simultaneously was required to alleviate the sphingolipid-mediated inhibition of ceramide biosynthesis. The lipid sensed by the ORMDL-mediated feedback mechanism is medium or long chain ceramide or a higher order sphingolipid. Treatment of permeabilized cells with C6-ceramide resulted in ORMDL-mediated inhibition of the rate-limiting enzyme in sphingolipid biosynthesis, serine palmitoyltransferase. This indicates that C6-ceramide inhibition requires only membrane-bound elements and does not involve diffusible proteins or small molecules. We also tested the atypical sphingomyelin synthase isoform, SMSr, for its role in the regulation of ceramide biosynthesis. This unusual enzyme has been reported to regulate ceramide levels in the endoplasmic reticulum. We were unable to detect a role for SMSr in regulating ceramide biosynthesis. We suggest that the role of SMSr may be in the regulation of downstream metabolism of ceramide.

PMID:
23066021
PMCID:
PMC3504734
DOI:
10.1074/jbc.C112.404012
[Indexed for MEDLINE]
Free PMC Article

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