Avicin G is a potent sphingomyelinase inhibitor and blocks oncogenic K- and H-Ras signaling.
ABSTRACT: K-Ras must interact primarily with the plasma membrane (PM) for its biological activity. Therefore, disrupting K-Ras PM interaction is a tractable approach to block oncogenic K-Ras activity. Here, we found that avicin G, a family of natural plant-derived triterpenoid saponins from Acacia victoriae, mislocalizes K-Ras from the PM and disrupts PM spatial organization of oncogenic K-Ras and H-Ras by depleting phosphatidylserine (PtdSer) and cholesterol contents, respectively, at the inner PM leaflet. Avicin G also inhibits oncogenic K- and H-Ras signal output and the growth of K-Ras-addicted pancreatic and non-small cell lung cancer cells. We further identified that avicin G perturbs lysosomal activity, and disrupts cellular localization and activity of neutral and acid sphingomyelinases (SMases), resulting in elevated cellular sphingomyelin (SM) levels and altered SM distribution. Moreover, we show that neutral SMase inhibitors disrupt the PM localization of K-Ras and PtdSer and oncogenic K-Ras signaling. In sum, this study identifies avicin G as a new potent anti-Ras inhibitor, and suggests that neutral SMase can be a tractable target for developing anti-K-Ras therapeutics.
Project description:Ras proteins are small GTPases localized to the plasma membrane (PM), which regulate cellular proliferation, apoptosis and differentiation. After a series of post-translational modifications, H-Ras and N-Ras traffic to the PM from the Golgi via the classical exocytic pathway, but the exact mechanism of K-Ras trafficking to the PM from the ER is not fully characterized. ATP5G1 (also known as ATP5MC1) is one of the three proteins that comprise subunit c of the F 0 complex of the mitochondrial ATP synthase. In this study, we show that overexpression of the mitochondrial targeting sequence of ATP5G1 perturbs glucose metabolism, inhibits oncogenic K-Ras signaling, and redistributes phosphatidylserine (PtdSer) to mitochondria and other endomembranes, resulting in K-Ras translocation to mitochondria. Also, it depletes phosphatidylinositol 4-phosphate (PI4P) at the Golgi. Glucose supplementation restores PtdSer and K-Ras PM localization and PI4P at the Golgi. We further show that inhibition of the Golgi-localized PI4-kinases (PI4Ks) translocates K-Ras, and PtdSer to mitochondria and endomembranes, respectively. We conclude that PI4P at the Golgi regulates the PM localization of PtdSer and K-Ras.This article has an associated First Person interview with the first author of the paper.
Project description:Sphingolipid metabolism and metabolites are important in various cellular events in eukaryotes. However, little is known about their function in plasmodial parasites. Here we demonstrate that neutral sphingomyelinase (SMase) involved in the sphingomyelin (SM) catabolism is retained by the intraerythrocytic parasite Plasmodium falciparum. When assayed in a neutral pH buffer supplemented with Mg(2+) and phosphatidylserine, an activity for the release of the phosphocholine group from SM was detected in parasite-infected, but not in uninfected, erythrocyte ghosts. The SMase activity in the parasite-infected erythrocyte ghosts was enhanced markedly by anionic phospholipids including unsaturated but not saturated phosphatidylserine. Mn(2+) could not substitute for Mg(2+) to activate SMase in parasite-infected erythrocyte ghosts, whereas both Mn(2+) and Mg(2+) activated mammalian neutral SMase. The specific activity level of SMase was higher in isolated parasites than in infected erythrocyte ghosts; further fractionation of lysates of the isolated parasites showed that the activity was bound largely to the membrane fraction of the parasites. The plasmodial SMase seemed not to hydrolyse phosphatidylcholine or phosphatidylinositol. The plasmodial SMase, but not SM synthase, was sensitive to scyphostatin, an inhibitor of mammalian neutral SMase, indicating that the plasmodial activities for SM hydrolysis and SM synthesis are mediated by different catalysts. Our finding that the malaria parasites possess SMase activity might explain why the parasites seem to have an SM synthase activity but no activity to synthesize ceramide de novo.
Project description:The enzyme sphingomyelinase (SMase) is an important biomarker for several diseases such as Niemann Pick's, atherosclerosis, multiple sclerosis, and HIV. We present a two-component colorimetric SMase activity assay that is more sensitive and much faster than currently available commercial assays. Herein, SMase-triggered release of cysteine from a sphingomyelin (SM)-based liposome formulation with 60 mol % cholesterol causes gold nanoparticle (AuNP) aggregation, enabling colorimetric detection of SMase activities as low as 0.02 mU/mL, corresponding to 1.4 pM concentration. While the lipid composition offers a stable, nonleaky liposome platform with minimal background signal, high specificity toward SMase avoids cross-reactivity of other similar phospholipases. Notably, use of an SM-based liposome formulation accurately mimics the natural in vivo substrate: the cell membrane. We studied the physical rearrangement process of the lipid membrane during SMase-mediated hydrolysis of SM to ceramide using small- and wide-angle X-ray scattering. A change in lipid phase from a liquid to gel state bilayer with increasing concentration of ceramide accounts for the observed increase in membrane permeability and consequent release of encapsulated cysteine. We further demonstrated the effectiveness of the sensor in colorimetric screening of small-molecule drug candidates, paving the way for the identification of novel SMase inhibitors in minutes. Taken together, the simplicity, speed, sensitivity, and naked-eye readout of this assay offer huge potential in point-of-care diagnostics and high-throughput drug screening.
Project description:We propose that accumulated membrane bending energy elicits a neutral sphingomyelinase (SMase) activity in human erythrocytes. Membrane bending was achieved by osmotic or chemical processes, and SMase activity was assessed by quantitative thin-layer chromatography, high-performance liquid chromatography, and electrospray ionization-mass spectrometry. The activity induced by hypotonic stress in erythrocyte membranes had the pH dependence, ion dependence, and inhibitor sensitivity of mammalian neutral SMases. The activity caused a decrease in SM contents, with a minimum at 6 min after onset of the hypotonic conditions, and then the SM contents were recovered. We also elicited SMase activity by adding lysophosphatidylcholine externally or by generating it with phospholipase A(2). The same effect was observed upon addition of chlorpromazine or sodium deoxycholate at concentrations below the critical micellar concentration, and even under hypertonic conditions. A unifying factor of the various agents that elicit this SMase activity is the accumulated membrane bending energy. Both hypo-and hypertonic conditions impose an increased curvature, whereas the addition of surfactants or phospholipase A(2) activation increases the outer monolayer area, thus leading to an increased bending energy. The fact that this latent SMase activity is tightly coupled to the membrane bending properties suggests that it may be related to the general phenomenon of stress-induced ceramide synthesis and apoptosis.
Project description:Sphingomyelinases (SMases) hydrolyze the membrane constituent sphingomyelin (SM) to phosphocholine and ceramide (Cer). Growing evidence supports that SMase-induced SM-->Cer conversion leads to the formation of lateral Cer-enriched domains which drive structural reorganization in lipid membranes. We previously provided visual evidence in real-time for the formation of Cer-enriched domains in SM monolayers through the action of the neutral Bacillus cereus SMase. In this work, we disclose a succession of discrete morphologic transitions and lateral organization of Cer-enriched domains that underlay the SMase-generated surface topography. We further reveal how these structural parameters couple to the generation of two-dimensional electrostatic fields, based upon the specific orientation of the lipid dipole moments in the Cer-enriched domains. Advanced image processing routines in combination with time-resolved epifluorescence microscopy on Langmuir monolayers revealed: 1), spontaneous nucleation and circular growth of Cer-enriched domains after injection of SMase into the subphase of the SM monolayer; 2), domain-intrinsic discrete transitions from circular to periodically undulating shapes followed by a second transition toward increasingly branched morphologies; 3), lateral superstructure organization into predominantly hexagonal domain lattices; 4), formation of super-superstructures by the hexagonal lattices; and 5), rotationally and laterally coupled domain movement before domain border contact. All patterns proved to be specific for the SMase-driven system since they could not be observed with Cer-enriched domains generated by defined mixtures of SM/Cer in enzyme-free monolayers at the same surface pressure (pi = 10 mN/m). Following the theories of lateral shape transitions, dipolar electrostatic interactions of lipid domains, and direct determinations of the monolayer dipole potential, our data show that SMase induces a domain-specific packing and orientation of the molecular dipole moments perpendicular to the air/water interface. In consequence, protein-driven generation of specific out-of-equilibrium states, an accepted concept for maintenance of transmembrane lipid asymmetry, must also be considered on the lateral level. Lateral enzyme-specific out-of-equilibrium organization of lipid domains represents a new level of signal transduction from local (nm) to long-range (microm) scales. The cross-talk between lateral domain structures and dipolar electrostatic fields adds new perspectives to the mechanisms of SMase-mediated signal transduction in biological membranes.
Project description:Sphingolipids play important roles in regulating cellular responses. Although mitochondria contain sphingolipids, direct regulation of their levels in mitochondria or mitochondria-associated membranes is mostly unclear. Neutral SMase (N-SMase) isoforms, which catalyze hydrolysis of sphingomyelin (SM) to ceramide and phosphocholine, have been found in the mitochondria of yeast and zebrafish, yet their existence in mammalian mitochondria remains unknown. Here, we have identified and cloned a cDNA based on nSMase homologous sequences. This cDNA encodes a novel protein of 483 amino acids that displays significant homology to nSMase2 and possesses the same catalytic core residues as members of the extended N-SMase family. A transiently expressed V5-tagged protein co-localized with both mitochondria and endoplasmic reticulum markers in MCF-7 and HEK293 cells; accordingly, the enzyme is referred to as mitochondria-associated nSMase (MA-nSMase). MA-nSMase was highly expressed in testis, pancreas, epididymis, and brain. MA-nSMase had an absolute requirement for cations such as Mg(2+) and Mn(2+) and activation by the anionic phospholipids, especially phosphatidylserine and the mitochondrial cardiolipin. Importantly, overexpression of MA-nSMase in HEK293 cells significantly increased in vitro N-SMase activity and also modulated the levels of SM and ceramide, indicating that the identified cDNA encodes a functional SMase. Thus, these studies identify and characterize, for the first time, a mammalian MA-nSMase. The characterization of MA-nSMase described here will contribute to our understanding of pathways regulated by sphingolipid metabolites, particularly with reference to the mitochondria and associated organelles.
Project description:The small GTPase KRAS, which is frequently mutated in human cancers, must be localized to the plasma membrane (PM) for biological activity. We recently showed that the KRAS C-terminal membrane anchor exhibits exquisite lipid-binding specificity for select species of phosphatidylserine (PtdSer). We, therefore, investigated whether reducing PM PtdSer content is sufficient to abrogate KRAS oncogenesis. Oxysterol-related binding proteins ORP5 and ORP8 exchange PtdSer synthesized in the ER for phosphatidyl-4-phosphate synthesized in the PM. We show that depletion of ORP5 or ORP8 reduced PM PtdSer levels, resulting in extensive mislocalization of KRAS from the PM. Concordantly, ORP5 or ORP8 depletion significantly reduced proliferation and anchorage-independent growth of multiple KRAS-dependent cancer cell lines, and attenuated KRAS signaling in vivo. Similarly, functionally inhibiting ORP5 and ORP8 by inhibiting PI4KIIIα-mediated synthesis of phosphatidyl-4-phosphate at the PM selectively inhibited the growth of KRAS-dependent cancer cell lines over normal cells. Inhibiting KRAS function through regulating PM lipid PtdSer content may represent a viable strategy for KRAS-driven cancers.
Project description:1. After the degradation of cell-surface sphingomyelin (SM) by exogenous sphingomyelinase (SMase), the resynthesis of SM by baby-hamster kidney (BHK) and human leukaemia-60 (HL-60) cells was examined in relation to utilization of substrate phosphatidylcholine (PtdCho) and generation of the expected product, diradylglycerol (DRG). Using [3H]choline-labelled BHK cells incubated in non-radioactive medium, SMase caused a release of phosphocholine, which was derived approximately equally from SM and PtdCho, consistent with the anticipated resynthesis of SM at the expense of PtdCho. However, with choline-labelled cells incubated in radioactive medium or [14C]acetate-labelled cells treated with SMase, no loss of radioactivity from PtdCho or accumulation of labelled DRG was observed, suggesting that any DRG produced as a consequence of SM synthesis must have been rapidly converted back into PtdCho. In contrast, SMase treatment of HL-60 cells caused more than a doubling of DRG levels at the expense of PtdCho, and this appears to be the first demonstration of a rise in DRG related to the synthesis of SM. The DRG produced consisted of about 80% 1,2-diacylglycerol and 18% 1-O-alkyl-2-acylglycerol species, a similar composition to that of the DRG backbone of total cell PtdCho. 2. The requirement for cell-surface PtdCho in the biosynthesis of SM by BHK cells was also investigated. Treatment of [3H]choline-labelled BHK cells with Bacillus cereus PtdCho-specific phospholipase C (PLC) rapidly degraded about 6% of the total PtdCho, which was assumed to represent the cell-surface pool. This did not appear to be the pool of PtdCho required for SM synthesis, since (a) the released phosphocholine was additional to that derived from PtdCho in cells treated with SMase and (b) treatment with PLC did not affect SM synthesis, either de novo or in response to degradation of cell-surface SM by SMase. These findings suggest either that there is no SM synthase in the plasma membrane or, if it is present, then it does not utilize cell-surface PtdCho as a substrate.
Project description:Alkaline sphingomyelinase (alk-SMase) is a new member of the NPP (nucleotide pyrophosphatase/phosphodiesterase) family that hydrolyses SM (sphingomyelin) to generate ceramide in the intestinal tract. The enzyme may protect the intestinal mucosa from inflammation and tumorigenesis. PAF (platelet-activating factor) is a pro-inflammatory phospholipid involved in pathogenesis of inflammatory bowel diseases. We examined whether alk-SMase can hydrolyse and inactivate PAF. [3H]Octadecyl-labelled PAF was incubated with purified rat intestinal alk-SMase or recombinant human alk-SMase expressed in COS-7 cells. The hydrolytic products were assayed with TLC and MS. We found that alkSMase cleaved the phosphocholine head group from PAF and generated 1-O-alkyl-2-acetyl-sn-glycerol. Differing from the activity against SM, the activity against PAF was optimal at pH 7.5, inhibited by EDTA and stimulated by 0.1-0.25 mM Zn2+. The activity was abolished by site mutation of the predicted metal-binding sites that are conserved in all NPP members. Similar to the activity against SM, the activity against PAF was dependent on bile salt, particularly taurocholate and taurochenodeoxycholate. The V(max) for PAF hydrolysis was 374 mumol x h(-1) x (mg of protein)(-1). The hydrolysis of PAF and SM could be inhibited by the presence of SM and PAF respectively, the inhibition of PAF hydrolysis by SM being stronger. The PAF-induced MAPK (mitogen-activated protein kinase) activation and IL-8 (interleukin 8) release in HT-29 cells, and chemotaxis in leucocytes were abolished by alk-SMase treatment. In conclusion, alk-SMase hydrolyses and inactivates PAF by a phospholipase C activity. The finding reveals a novel function, by which alk-SMase may counteract the development of intestinal inflammation and colon cancer.
Project description:Activation of sphingomyelinase (SMase) by extracellular stimuli is the major pathway for cellular production of ceramide, a bioactive lipid mediator acting through sphingomyelin (SM) hydrolysis. Previously, we reported the existence of six forms of neutral pH-optimum and Mg(2+)-dependent SMase (N-SMase) in the membrane fractions of bovine brain. Here, we focus on N-SMase ? from salt-extracted membranes. After extensive purification by 12,780-fold with a yield of 1.3%, this enzyme was eventually characterized as N-SMase2. The major single band of 60-kDa molecular mass in the active fractions of the final purification step was identified as heat shock protein 60 (Hsp60) by matrix-assisted laser desorption/ionization time-of-flight mass spectrometric analysis. Proximity ligation assay and immunoprecipitation study showed that Hsp60 interacted with N-SMase2, prompting us to examine the effect of Hsp60 on N-SMase2 and ceramide production. Interestingly, Hsp60 siRNA treatment significantly increased the protein level of N-SMase2 in N-SMase2-overexpressed HEK293 cells. Furthermore, transfection of Hsp60 siRNA into PC12 cells effectively increased both N-SMase activity and ceramide production and increased dopamine re-uptake with paralleled increase. Taken together, these results show that Hsp60 may serve as a negative regulator in N-SMase2-induced dopamine re-uptake by decreasing the protein level of N-SMase2.