Deficiency of the alkaline ceramidase ACER3 manifests in early childhood by progressive leukodystrophy.
ABSTRACT: 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:Dyshomeostasis of both ceramides and sphingosine-1-phosphate (S1P) in the brain has been implicated in aging-associated neurodegenerative disorders in humans. However, mechanisms that maintain the homeostasis of these bioactive sphingolipids in the brain remain unclear. Mouse alkaline ceramidase 3 (Acer3), which preferentially catalyzes the hydrolysis of C18:1-ceramide, a major unsaturated long-chain ceramide species in the brain, is upregulated with age in the mouse brain. Acer3 knockout causes an age-dependent accumulation of various ceramides and C18:1-monohexosylceramide and abolishes the age-related increase in the levels of sphingosine and S1P in the brain; thereby resulting in Purkinje cell degeneration in the cerebellum and deficits in motor coordination and balance. Our results indicate that Acer3 plays critically protective roles in controlling the homeostasis of various sphingolipids, including ceramides, sphingosine, S1P, and certain complex sphingolipids in the brain and protects Purkinje cells from premature degeneration.
Project description:Overload of palmitic acids is linked to the dysregulation of ceramide metabolism in nonalcoholic steatohepatitis (NASH), and ceramides are important bioactive lipids mediating the lipotoxicity of palmitic acid in NASH. However, much remains unclear about the role of ceramidases that catalyze the hydrolysis of ceramides in NASH. By analyzing the National Center for Biotechnology Information (NCBI) Gene Expression Omnibus (GEO) database, we found that alkaline ceramidase 3 (ACER3) is upregulated in livers of patients with NASH. Consistently, we found that Acer3 mRNA levels and its enzymatic activity were also upregulated in mouse livers with NASH induced by a palmitate-enriched Western diet (PEWD). Moreover, we demonstrated that palmitate treatment also elevated Acer3 mRNA levels and its enzymatic activity in mouse primary hepatocytes. In order to investigate the function of Acer3 in NASH, Acer3 null mice and their wild-type littermates were fed a PEWD to induce NASH. Knocking out Acer3 was found to augment PEWD-induced elevation of C18:1-ceramide and alleviate early inflammation and fibrosis but not steatosis in mouse livers with NASH. In addition, Acer3 deficiency attenuated hepatocyte apoptosis in livers with NASH. These protective effects of Acer3 deficiency were found to be associated with suppression of hepatocellular oxidative stress in NASH liver. In vitro studies further revealed that loss of ACER3/Acer3 increased C18:1-ceramide and inhibited apoptosis and oxidative stress in mouse primary hepatocytes and immortalized human hepatocytes induced by palmitic-acid treatment. These results suggest that ACER3 plays an important pathological role in NASH by mediating palmitic-acid-induced oxidative stress.
Project description:Increasing studies suggest that ceramides differing in acyl chain length and/or degree of unsaturation have distinct roles in mediating biological responses. However, still much remains unclear about regulation and role of distinct ceramide species in the immune response. Here, we demonstrate that alkaline ceramidase 3 (Acer3) mediates the immune response by regulating the levels of C18:1-ceramide in cells of the innate immune system and that Acer3 deficiency aggravates colitis in a murine model by augmenting the expression of pro-inflammatory cytokines in myeloid and colonic epithelial cells (CECs). According to the NCBI Gene Expression Omnibus (GEO) database, ACER3 is downregulated in immune cells in response to lipopolysaccharides (LPS), a potent inducer of the innate immune response. Consistent with these data, we demonstrated that LPS downregulated both Acer3 mRNA levels and its enzymatic activity while elevating C(18:1)-ceramide, a substrate of Acer3, in murine immune cells or CECs. Knocking out Acer3 enhanced the elevation of C(18:1)-ceramide and the expression of pro-inflammatory cytokines in immune cells and CECs in response to LPS challenge. Similar to Acer3 knockout, treatment with C(18:1)-ceramide, but not C18:0-ceramide, potentiated LPS-induced expression of pro-inflammatory cytokines in immune cells. In the mouse model of dextran sulfate sodium-induced colitis, Acer3 deficiency augmented colitis-associated elevation of colonic C(18:1)-ceramide and pro-inflammatory cytokines. Acer3 deficiency aggravated diarrhea, rectal bleeding, weight loss and mortality. Pathological analyses revealed that Acer3 deficiency augmented colonic shortening, immune cell infiltration, colonic epithelial damage and systemic inflammation. Acer3 deficiency also aggravated colonic dysplasia in a mouse model of colitis-associated colorectal cancer. Taken together, these results suggest that Acer3 has an important anti-inflammatory role by suppressing cellular or tissue C(18:1)-ceramide, a potent pro-inflammatory bioactive lipid and that dysregulation of ACER3 and C(18:1)-ceramide may contribute to the pathogenesis of inflammatory diseases including cancer.
Project description:Alkaline ceramidases (ACERs) are a class of poorly understood transmembrane enzymes controlling the homeostasis of ceramides. They are implicated in human pathophysiology, including progressive leukodystrophy, colon cancer as well as acute myeloid leukemia. We report here the crystal structure of the human ACER type 3 (ACER3). Together with computational studies, the structure reveals that ACER3 is an intramembrane enzyme with a seven transmembrane domain architecture and a catalytic Zn2+ binding site in its core, similar to adiponectin receptors. Interestingly, we uncover a Ca2+ binding site physically and functionally connected to the Zn2+ providing a structural explanation for the known regulatory role of Ca2+ on ACER3 enzymatic activity and for the loss of function in E33G-ACER3 mutant found in leukodystrophic patients.
Project description:Sphingosine-1-phosphate (S1P) plays important roles in cardiovascular development and immunity. S1P is abundant in plasma because erythrocytes-the major source of S1P-lack any S1P-degrading activity; however, much remains unclear about the source of the plasma S1P precursor, sphingosine (SPH), derived mainly from the hydrolysis of ceramides by the action of ceramidases that are encoded by 5 distinct genes, acid ceramidase 1 ( ASAH1)/ Asah1, ASAH2/ Asah2, alkaline ceramidase 1 ( ACER1)/ Acer1, ACER2/ Acer2, and ACER3/ Acer3, in humans/mice. Previous studies have reported that knocking out Asah1 or Asah2 failed to reduce plasma SPH and S1P levels in mice. In this study, we show that knocking out Acer1 or Acer3 also failed to reduce the blood levels of SPH or S1P in mice. In contrast, knocking out Acer2 from either whole-body or the hematopoietic lineage markedly decreased the blood levels of SPH and S1P in mice. Of interest, knocking out Acer2 from whole-body or the hematopoietic lineage also markedly decreased the levels of dihydrosphingosine (dhSPH) and dihydrosphingosine-1-phosphate (dhS1P) in blood. Taken together, these results suggest that ACER2 plays a key role in the maintenance of high plasma levels of sphingoid base-1-phosphates-S1P and dhS1P-by controlling the generation of sphingoid bases-SPH and dhSPH-in hematopoietic cells.-Li, F., Xu, R., Low, B. E., Lin, C.-L., Garcia-Barros, M., Schrandt, J., Mileva, I., Snider, A., Luo, C. K., Jiang, X.-C., Li, M.-S., Hannun, Y. A., Obeid, L. M., Wiles, M. V., Mao, C. Alkaline ceramidase 2 is essential for the homeostasis of plasma sphingoid bases and their phosphates.
Project description:Two anticancer agents, LCL85 and photodynamic therapy (PDT) were combined to test whether the combination PDT/LCL85 evokes changes in the sphingolipid (SL) profile and promotes cell death. Treatment of SCCVII mouse squamous carcinoma cells using the silicone phthalocyanine Pc 4 for PDT induced increases in the prodeath global ceramides/dihydroceramides (DHceramides), and no changes in the prosurvival sphingosine-1-phosphate (S1P). In contrast, after LCL85, the levels of most ceramides and DHceramides were reduced, whereas the levels of S1P were increased. After PDT/LCL85 the levels of global ceramides and DHceramides, and of S1P, were restored to resting levels. PDT/LCL85 also enhanced the levels of C18-, C20-, and C20:1-ceramide, and C18-DHceramide. Treatment with PDT, with or without LCL85, led to substantial reductions in sphingosine levels. PDT/LCL85 induced enhanced autophagy and caspase-3 activation. None of the treatments affected short-term viability of cells. In contrast, long-term clonogenic survival was reduced not only after PDT or LCL85, but even more after PDT/LCL85. Overall, our data show that short-term exposure to PDT/LCL85 led to distinct signature effects on the SL profile, enhanced autophagy, and caspase-3 activation without cell death. Long-term exposure to PDT/LCL85 enhanced overall cell killing, supporting translational potential of PDT/LCL85.
Project description:Cardiorespiratory fitness (VO2 peak) declines with age and is an independent risk factor for morbidity and mortality in older adults. Identifying biomarkers of low fitness may provide insight for why some individuals experience an accelerated decline of aerobic capacity and may serve as clinically valuable prognostic indicators of cardiovascular health. We investigated the relationship between circulating ceramides and VO2 peak in 443 men and women (mean age of 69) enrolled in the Baltimore Longitudinal Study of Aging (BLSA). Individual species of ceramide were quantified by HPLC-tandem mass spectrometry. VO2 peak was measured by a graded treadmill test. We applied multiple regression models to test the associations between ceramide species and VO2 peak, while adjusting for age, sex, blood pressure, serum LDL, HDL, triglycerides, and other covariates. We found that higher levels of circulating C18:0, C20:0, C24:1 ceramides and C20:0 dihydroceramides were strongly associated with lower aerobic capacity (P < 0.001, P < 0.001, P = 0.018, and P < 0.001, respectively). The associations held true for both sexes (with men having a stronger association than women, P value for sex interaction <0.05) and were unchanged after adjusting for confounders and multiple comparison correction. Interestingly, no significant association was found for C16:0, C22:0, C24:0, C26:0, and C22:1 ceramide species, C24:0 dihydroceramide, or total ceramides. Our analysis reveals that specific long-chain ceramides strongly associate with low cardiovascular fitness in older adults and may be implicated in the pathogenesis of low fitness with aging. Longitudinal studies are needed to further validate these associations and investigate the relationship between ceramides and health outcomes.
Project description:Over the past three decades, extensive research has been able to determine the biologic functions for the main bioactive sphingolipids, namely ceramide, sphingosine, and sphingosine 1-phosphate (S1P) (Hannun, 1996; Hannun et al., 1986; Okazaki et al., 1989). These studies have managed to define the metabolism, regulation, and function of these bioactive sphingolipids. This emerging body of literature has also implicated bioactive sphingolipids, particularly S1P and ceramide, as key regulators of cellular homeostasis. Ceramidases have the important role of cleaving fatty acid from ceramide and producing sphingosine, thereby controlling the interconversion of these two lipids. Thus far, five human ceramidases encoded by five different genes have been identified: acid ceramidase (AC), neutral ceramidase (NC), alkaline ceramidase 1 (ACER1), alkaline ceramidase 2 (ACER2), and alkaline ceramidase 3 (ACER3). These ceramidases are classified according to their optimal pH for catalytic activity. AC, which is localized to the lysosomal compartment, has been associated with Farber's disease and is involved in the regulation of cell viability. Neutral ceramidase, which is localized to the plasma membrane and primarily expressed in the small intestine and colon, is involved in digestion, and has been implicated in colon carcinogenesis. ACER1 which can be found in the endoplasmic reticulum and is highly expressed in the skin, plays an important role in keratinocyte differentiation. ACER2, localized to the Golgi complex and highly expressed in the placenta, is involved in programed cell death in response to DNA damage. ACER3, also localized to the endoplasmic reticulum and the Golgi complex, is ubiquitously expressed, and is involved in motor coordination-associated Purkinje cell degeneration. This review seeks to consolidate the current knowledge regarding these key cellular players.
Project description:Human pathologies such as Alzheimer's disease, type 2 diabetes-induced insulin resistance, cancer, and cardiovascular diseases have altered lipid homeostasis. Among these imbalanced lipids, the bioactive sphingolipids ceramide and sphingosine-1 phosphate (S1P) are pivotal in the pathophysiology of these diseases. Several enzymes within the sphingolipid pathway contribute to the homeostasis of ceramide and S1P. Ceramidase is key in the degradation of ceramide into sphingosine and free fatty acids. In humans, five different ceramidases are known-acid ceramidase, neutral ceramidase, and alkaline ceramidase 1, 2, and 3-which are encoded by five different genes (ASAH1, ASAH2, ACER1, ACER2, and ACER3, respectively). Notably, the neutral ceramidase N-acylsphingosine amidohydrolase 2 (ASAH2) shows considerable differences between humans and animals in terms of tissue expression levels. Besides, the subcellular localization of ASAH2 remains controversial. In this review, we sum up the results obtained for identifying gene divergence, structure, subcellular localization, and manipulating factors and address the role of ASAH2 along with other ceramidases in human diseases.
Project description:The sphingoid bases of sphingolipids, including ceramides, can vary in length from 12 to >20 carbons. To study how such length variation affects the bilayer properties of ceramides, we synthesized ceramides consisting of a C12-, C14-, C16-, C18-, or C20-sphing-4-enin derivative coupled to palmitic acid. The ceramides were studied in mixtures with palmitoyloleoylphosphocholine (POPC) and/or palmitoylsphingomyelin (PSM), and in more complex bilayers also containing cholesterol. The trans-parinaric acid lifetimes showed that 12:1- and 14:1-PCer failed to increase the order of POPC bilayers, whereas 16:1-, 18:1-, and 20:1-PCer induced ordered- or gel-phase formation. Nevertheless, all of the analogs were able to thermally stabilize PSM, and a chain-length-dependent increase in the main phase transition temperature of equimolar PSM/Cer bilayers was revealed by differential scanning calorimetry. Similar thermal stabilization of PSM-rich domains by the ceramides was observed in POPC bilayers with a trans-parinaric acid-quenching assay. A cholestatrienol-quenching assay and sterol partitioning experiments showed that 18:1- and 20:1-PCer formed sterol-excluding gel phases with PSM, reducing the overall bilayer affinity of sterol. The effect of 16:1-PCer on sterol distribution was less dramatic, and no displacement of sterol from the PSM environment was observed with 12:1- and 14:1-PCer. The results are discussed in relation to other structural features that affect the bilayer properties of ceramides.