Reference: Montefusco DJ, et al. (2012) Sphingoid bases and the serine catabolic enzyme CHA1 define a novel feedforward/feedback mechanism in the response to serine availability. J Biol Chem 287(12):9280-9

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Abstract


Targets of bioactive sphingolipids in Saccharomyces cerevisiae were previously identified using microarray experiments focused on sphingolipid-dependent responses to heat stress. One of these heat-induced genes is the serine deamidase/dehydratase Cha1 known to be regulated by increased serine availability. This study investigated the hypothesis that sphingolipids may mediate the induction of Cha1 in response to serine availability. The results showed that inhibition of de novo synthesis of sphingolipids, pharmacologically or genetically, prevented the induction of Cha1 in response to increased serine availability. Additional studies implicated the sphingoid bases phytosphingosine and dihydrosphingosine as the likely mediators of Cha1 up-regulation. The yeast protein kinases Pkh1 and Pkh2, known sphingoid base effectors, were found to mediate CHA1 up-regulation via the transcription factor Cha4. Because the results disclosed a role for sphingolipids in negative feedback regulation of serine metabolism, we investigated the effects of disrupting this mechanism on sphingolipid levels and on cell growth. Intriguingly, exposure of the cha1? strain to high serine resulted in hyperaccumulation of endogenous serine and in turn a significant accumulation of sphingoid bases and ceramides. Under these conditions, the cha1? strain displayed a significant growth defect that was sphingolipid-dependent. Together, this work reveals a feedforward/feedback loop whereby the sphingoid bases serve as sensors of serine availability and mediate up-regulation of Cha1 in response to serine availability, which in turn regulates sphingolipid levels by limiting serine accumulation.

Reference Type
Journal Article
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Montefusco DJ, Newcomb B, Gandy JL, Brice SE, Matmati N, Cowart LA, Hannun YA
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