Brefeldin A promotes hydrolysis of sphingomyelin.
The hydrolysis of sphingomyelin (SM) is a key reaction in the "sphingomyelin cycle," which plays a role in the regulation of cell proliferation and differentiation (Okazaki, T., Bell, R. M., and Hannun, Y. A. (1989) J. Biol. Chem. 264, 19076-19080). SM is produced from endoplasmic reticulum-derived ceramide and is delivered to organelle membranes in a regulated manner, presumably through the same endomembrane trafficking system used for sorting and delivery of proteins. Since brefeldin A (BFA) interferes with this endomembrane trafficking system and thus alters normal membrane and organelle distribution, we investigated the effect of BFA on SM levels in HL-60 leukemia cells. BFA caused a dose-dependent decrease of 20-25% in cellular SM levels, with effects observed at concentrations of BFA as low as 0.10 microgram/ml. BFA effects on SM levels were noted as early as 5 min and were maximal by 20 min, with no further SM hydrolysis observed up to 60 min following treatment with BFA, suggesting the presence of a fixed SM-sensitive pool. BFA did not cause SM hydrolysis at 16 degrees C, a temperature that inhibits the effects of BFA on endomembrane mixing. The very early effects and temperature dependence of BFA-induced SM hydrolysis suggest that the mechanism of hydrolysis may be closely related to endomembrane mixing. These studies are beginning to define important interrelationships between membrane trafficking and topology, SM metabolism, and cell regulation.
Linardic, CM; Jayadev, S; Hannun, YA
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