On-tissue localization of ceramides and other sphingolipids by MALDI mass spectrometry imaging.
ABSTRACT: A novel MALDI-FTICR imaging mass spectrometry (MALDI-IMS) workflow is described for on-tissue detection, spatial localization, and structural confirmation of low abundance bioactive ceramides and other sphingolipids. Increasingly, altered or elevated levels of sphingolipids, sphingolipid metabolites, and sphingolipid metabolizing enzymes have been associated with a variety of disorders such as diabetes, obesity, lysosomal storage disorders, and cancer. Ceramide, which serves as a metabolic hub in sphingolipid metabolism, has been linked to cancer signaling pathways and to metabolic regulation with involvement in autophagy, cell-cycle arrest, senescence, and apoptosis. Using kidney tissues from a new Farber disease mouse model in which ceramides of all acyl chain lengths and other sphingolipid metabolites accumulate in tissues, specific ceramides and sphingomyelins were identified by on-tissue isolation and fragmentation, coupled with an on-tissue digestion by ceramidase or sphingomyelinase. Multiple glycosphingolipid species were also detected. The newly generated library of sphingolipid ions was then applied to MALDI-IMS of human lung cancer tissues. Multiple tumor specific ceramide and sphingomyelin species were detected and confirmed by on-tissue enzyme digests and structural confirmation. High-resolution MALDI-IMS in combination with novel on-tissue ceramidase and sphingomyelinase enzyme digestions makes it now possible to rapidly visualize the distribution of bioactive ceramides and sphingomyelin in tissues.
Project description:Sphingolipids have garnered attention for their role in insulin resistance and lipotoxic cell death. We have developed transgenic mice inducibly expressing acid ceramidase that display a reduction in ceramides in adult mouse tissues. Hepatic overexpression of acid ceramidase prevents hepatic steatosis and prompts improvements in insulin action in liver and adipose tissue upon exposure to high-fat diet. Conversely, overexpression of acid ceramidase within adipose tissue also prevents hepatic steatosis and systemic insulin resistance. Induction of ceramidase activity in either tissue promotes a lowering of hepatic ceramides and reduced activation of the ceramide-activated protein kinase C isoform PKC?, though the induction of ceramidase activity in the adipocyte prompts more rapid resolution of hepatic steatosis than overexpression of the enzyme directly in the liver. Collectively, our observations suggest the existence of a rapidly acting "cross-talk" between liver and adipose tissue sphingolipids, critically regulating glucose metabolism and hepatic lipid uptake.
Project description:Sphingolipids, including sphingosine-1-phosphate (S1P) and ceramide, have emerged as key regulatory molecules that control various aspects of cell growth and proliferation in cancer. Although important roles of sphingolipids in breast cancer progression have been reported in experimental models, their roles in human patients have yet to be determined. The aims of this study were to determine the levels of sphingolipids including S1P, ceramides, and other sphingolipids, in breast cancer and normal breast tissue and to compare the difference in levels of each sphingolipid between the two tissues.Tumor and noncancerous breast tissue were obtained from 12 patients with breast cancer. Sphingolipids including S1P, ceramides, and their metabolites of sphingosine, sphingomyelin, and monohexosylceramide were measured by liquid chromatography-electrospray ionization-tandem mass spectrometry.The levels of S1P, ceramides, and other sphingolipids in the tumor were significantly higher than those in normal breast tissue. There was a relatively strong correlation in the levels of S1P between the tumor and those of normal breast tissue from the same person. On the other hand, there was no correlation in the levels of most of the ceramide species between the tumor and those of normal breast tissue from the same person.To our knowledge, this is the first study to reveal that levels of sphingolipids in cancer tissue are generally higher than those of normal breast tissue in patients with breast cancer. The correlation of S1P levels in these tissues implicates the role of S1P in interaction between cancer and the tumor microenvironment.
Project description:Acid sphingomyelinase occupies a prominent position in sphingolipid catabolism, catalyzing the hydrolysis of sphingomyelin to ceramide and phosphorylcholine. Enzymatic dysfunction of acid sphingomyelinase results in Niemann-Pick disease, a lysosomal storage disorder characterized at the cellular level by accumulation of sphingomyelin within the endo-lysosomal compartment. Over the past decade interest in the role of acid sphingomyelinase has moved beyond its "housekeeping" function in constitutive turnover of sphingomyelin in the lysosome to include study of regulated ceramide generation. Ceramide functions as a bioactive sphingolipid with pleiotropic signaling properties, and has been implicated in diverse cellular processes of physiologic and pathophysiologic importance. Though many cellular enzymes have the capacity to generate ceramide,there is growing appreciation that "all ceramides are not created equal." Ceramides likely exert distinct effects in different cellular/subcellular compartments by virtue of access to other sphingolipid enzymes (e.g.ceramidases), effector molecules (e.g. ceramide-activated protein phosphatases), and neighboring lipids and proteins (e.g. cholesterol, ion channels). One of the unique features of acid sphingomyelinase is that it has been implicated in the hydrolysis of sphingomyelin in three different settings--the endo-lysosomal compartment,the outer leaflet of the plasma membrane, and lipoproteins. How a single gene product has the capacity to function in these diverse settings, and the subsequent impact on downstream ceramide-mediated biology is the subject of this review.
Project description:Mitochondrial sphingolipids play a diverse role in normal cardiac function and diseases, yet a precise quantification of cardiac mitochondrial sphingolipids has never been performed. Therefore, rat heart interfibrillary mitochondria (IFM) and subsarcolemmal mitochondria (SSM) were isolated, lipids extracted, and sphingolipids quantified by LC-tandem mass spectrometry. Results showed that sphingomyelin (approximately 10,000 pmol/mg protein) was the predominant sphingolipid regardless of mitochondrial subpopulation, and measurable amounts of ceramide (approximately 70 pmol/mg protein) sphingosine, and sphinganine were also found in IFM and SSM. Both mitochondrial populations contained similar quantities of sphingolipids except for ceramide which was much higher in SSM. Analysis of sphingolipid isoforms revealed ten different sphingomyelins and six ceramides that differed from 16- to 24-carbon units in their acyl side chains. Sub-fractionation experiments further showed that sphingolipids are a constituent part of the inner mitochondrial membrane. Furthermore, inner membrane ceramide levels were 32% lower versus whole mitochondria (45 pmol/mg protein). Three ceramide isotypes (C20-, C22-, and C24-ceramide) accounted for the lower amounts. The concentrations of the ceramides present in the inner membranes of SSM and IFM differed greatly. Overall, mitochondrial sphingolipid content reflected levels seen in cardiac tissue, but the specific ceramide distribution distinguished IFM and SSM from each other.
Project description:Pseudomonas aeruginosa, an opportunistic, but serious multidrug-resistant pathogen, secretes a ceramidase capable of cleaving the N-acyl linkage of ceramide to generate fatty acids and sphingosine. We previously reported that the secretion of P. aeruginosa ceramidase was induced by host-derived sphingolipids, through which phospholipase C-induced hemolysis was significantly enhanced. We herein investigated the gene(s) regulating sphingolipid-induced ceramidase expression and identified SphR, which encodes a putative AraC family transcriptional regulator. Disruption of the sphR gene in P. aeruginosa markedly decreased the sphingomyelin-induced secretion of ceramidase, reduced hemolytic activity, and resulted in the loss of sphingomyelin-induced ceramidase expression. A microarray analysis confirmed that sphingomyelin significantly induced ceramidase expression in P. aeruginosa. Furthermore, an electrophoretic mobility shift assay revealed that SphR specifically bound free sphingoid bases such as sphingosine, dihydrosphingosine, and phytosphingosine, but not sphingomyelin or ceramide. A ?-galactosidase-assisted promoter assay showed that sphingosine activated ceramidase expression through SphR at a concentration of 100?nM. Collectively, these results demonstrated that sphingosine induces the secretion of ceramidase by promoting the mRNA expression of ceramidase through SphR, thereby enhancing hemolytic phospholipase C-induced cytotoxicity. These results facilitate understanding of the physiological role of bacterial ceramidase in host cells.
Project description:ERM proteins are regulated by phosphorylation of the most C-terminal threonine residue, switching them from an activated to an inactivated form. However, little is known about the control of this regulation. Previous work in our group demonstrated that secretion of acid sphingomyelinase acts upstream of ERM dephosphorylation, suggesting the involvement of sphingomyelin (SM) hydrolysis in ERM regulation. To define the role of specific lipids, we employed recombinant bacterial sphingomyelinase (bSMase) as a direct probe of SM metabolism at the plasma membrane. bSMase induced a rapid dose- and time-dependent decrease in ERM dephosphorylation. ERM dephosphorylation was driven by ceramide generation and not by sphingomyelin depletion, as shown using recombinant sphingomyelinase D. The generation of ceramide at the plasma membrane was sufficient for ERM regulation, and no intracellular SM hydrolysis was required, as was visualized using Venus-tagged lysenin probe, which specifically binds SM. Interestingly, hydrolysis of plasma membrane bSMase-induced ceramide using bacterial ceramidase caused ERM hyperphosphorylation and formation of cell surface protrusions. The effects of plasma membrane ceramide hydrolysis were due to sphingosine 1-phosphate formation, as ERM phosphorylation was blocked by an inhibitor of sphingosine kinase and induced by sphingosine 1-phosphate. Taken together, these results demonstrate a new regulatory mechanism of ERM phosphorylation by sphingolipids with opposing actions of ceramide and sphingosine 1-phosphate. The approach also defines a tool kit to probe sphingolipid signaling at the plasma membrane.
Project description:Leukodystrophies due to abnormal production of myelin cause extensive morbidity in early life; their genetic background is still largely unknown. We aimed at reaching a molecular diagnosis in Ashkenazi-Jewish patients who suffered from developmental regression at 6-13?months, leukodystrophy and peripheral neuropathy.Exome analysis, determination of alkaline ceramidase activity catalysing the conversion of C18:1-ceramide to sphingosine and D-ribo-C12-N-(7-nitrobenz-2-oxa-1,3-diazol-4-yl) (NBD)-phytoceramide to NBD-C12-fatty acid using liquid chromatography-tandem mass spectrometry (LC-MS/MS) and thin layer chromatography, respectively, and sphingolipid analysis in patients' blood by LC-MS/MS.The patients were homozygous for p.E33G in the ACER3, which encodes a C18:1-alkaline ceramidase and C20:1-alkaline ceramidase. The mutation abolished ACER3 catalytic activity in the patients' cells and failed to restore alkaline ceramidase activity in yeast mutant strain. The levels of ACER3 substrates, C18:1-ceramides and dihydroceramides and C20:1-ceramides and dihydroceramides and other long-chain ceramides and dihydroceramides were markedly increased in the patients' plasma, along with that of complex sphingolipids, including monohexosylceramides and lactosylceramides.Homozygosity for the p.E33G mutation in the ACER3 gene results in inactivation of ACER3, leading to the accumulation of various sphingolipids in blood and probably in brain, likely accounting for this new form of childhood leukodystrophy.
Project description:Sphingolipids are important in many brain functions but their role in Alzheimer's disease (AD) is not completely defined. A major limit is availability of fresh brain tissue with defined AD pathology. The discovery that cerebrospinal fluid (CSF) contains abundant nanoparticles that include synaptic vesicles and large dense core vesicles offer an accessible sample to study these organelles, while the supernatant fluid allows study of brain interstitial metabolism. Our objective was to characterize sphingolipids in nanoparticles representative of membrane vesicle metabolism, and in supernatant fluid representative of interstitial metabolism from study participants with varying levels of cognitive dysfunction. We recently described the recruitment, diagnosis, and CSF collection from cognitively normal or impaired study participants. Using liquid chromatography tandem mass spectrometry, we report that cognitively normal participants had measureable levels of sphingomyelin, ceramide, and dihydroceramide species, but that their distribution differed between nanoparticles and supernatant fluid, and further differed in those with cognitive impairment. In CSF from AD compared with cognitively normal participants: a) total sphingomyelin levels were lower in nanoparticles and supernatant fluid; b) levels of ceramide species were lower in nanoparticles and higher in supernatant fluid; c) three sphingomyelin species were reduced in the nanoparticle fraction. Moreover, three sphingomyelin species in the nanoparticle fraction were lower in mild cognitive impairment compared with cognitively normal participants. The activity of acid, but not neutral sphingomyelinase was significantly reduced in the CSF from AD participants. The reduction in acid sphingomylinase in CSF from AD participants was independent of depression and psychotropic medications. Acid sphingomyelinase activity positively correlated with amyloid ?42 concentration in CSF from cognitively normal but not impaired participants. In dementia, altered sphingolipid metabolism, decreased acid sphingomyelinase activity and its lost association with CSF amyloid ?42 concentration, underscores the potential of sphingolipids as disease biomarkers, and acid sphingomyelinase as a target for AD diagnosis and/or treatment.
Project description:Sphingolipids are bioactive lipids that can modulate insulin sensitivity, cellular differentiation, and apoptosis in a tissue-specific manner. However, their comparative profiles in bovine retroperitoneal (RPAT) and subcutaneous adipose tissue (SCAT) are currently unknown. We aimed to characterize the sphingolipid profiles using a targeted lipidomics approach and to assess whether potentially related sphingolipid pathways are different between SCAT and RPAT. Holstein bulls (<i>n</i> = 6) were slaughtered, and SCAT and RPAT samples were collected for sphingolipid profiling. A total of 70 sphingolipid species were detected and quantified by UPLC-MS/MS in multiple reaction monitoring (MRM) mode, including ceramide (Cer), dihydroceramide (DHCer), sphingomyelin (SM), dihydrosphingomyelin (DHSM), ceramide-1-phosphate (C1P), sphingosine-1-phosphate (S1P), galactosylceramide (GalCer), glucosylceramide (GluCer), lactosylceramide (LacCer), sphinganine (DHSph), and sphingosine (Sph). Our results showed that sphingolipids of the de novo synthesis pathway, such as DHSph, DHCer, and Cer, were more concentrated in RPAT than in SCAT. Sphingolipids of the salvage pathway and the sphingomyelinase pathway, such as Sph, S1P, C1P, glycosphingolipid, and SM, were more concentrated in SCAT. Our results indicate that RPAT had a greater extent of ceramide accumulation, thereby increasing the concentration of further sphingolipid intermediates in the de novo synthesis pathway. This distinctive sphingolipid distribution pattern in RPAT and SCAT can potentially explain the tissue-specific activity in insulin sensitivity, proinflammation, and oxidative stress in RPAT and SCAT.
Project description:Reduced insulin action develops naturally during the peripartum to ensure maternal nutrient delivery to the fetus and neonate. However, increased insulin resistance can facilitate excessive lipolysis which in turn promotes metabolic disease in overweight dairy cattle. Increased fatty acid availability favors the accumulation of the sphingolipid ceramide and is implicated in the pathogenesis of insulin resistance, however, the relationship between sphingolipid metabolism and insulin resistance during the peripartum remains largely unknown. Our objectives were to characterize temporal responses in plasma and tissue sphingolipids in lean and overweight peripartal cows and to establish the relationships between sphingolipid supply and lipolysis, hepatic lipid deposition, and systemic insulin action. Twenty-one multiparous lean and overweight Holstein cows were enrolled in a longitudinal study spanning the transition from gestation to lactation (d -21 to 21, relative to parturition). Plasma, liver, and skeletal muscle samples were obtained, and sphingolipids were profiled using LC/MS/MS. Insulin sensitivity was assessed utilizing intravenous insulin and glucose challenges. Our results demonstrated the following: first, insulin resistance develops postpartum concurrently with increased lipolysis and hepatic lipid accumulation; second, ceramides and glycosylated ceramides accumulate during the transition from gestation to lactation and are further elevated in overweight cows; third, ceramide accrual is associated with lipolysis and liver lipid accumulation, and C16:0- and C24:0-ceramide are inversely associated with systemic insulin sensitivity postpartum; fourth, plasma sphingomyelin, a potential source of ceramides reaches a nadir at parturition and is closely associated with feed intake; fifth, select sphingomyelins are lower in the plasma of overweight cows during the peripartal period. Our results demonstrate that dynamic changes occur in peripartal sphingolipids that are influenced by adiposity, and are associated with the onset of peripartal insulin resistance. These observations are in agreement with a putative potential role for sphingolipids in facilitating the physiological adaptations of peripartum.