Two mammalian longevity assurance gene (LAG1) family members, trh1 and trh4, regulate dihydroceramide synthesis using different fatty acyl-CoA donors.
Overexpression of upstream of growth and differentiation factor 1 (uog1), a mammalian homolog of the yeast longevity assurance gene (LAG1), selectively induces the synthesis of stearoyl-containing sphingolipids in mammalian cells (Venkataraman, K., Riebeling, C., Bodennec, J., Riezman, H., Allegood, J. C., Sullards, M. C., Merrill, A. H. Jr., and Futerman, A. H. (2002) J. Biol. Chem. 277, 35642-35649). Gene data base analysis subsequently revealed a new subfamily of proteins containing the Lag1p motif, previously characterized as translocating chain-associating membrane (TRAM) protein homologs (TRH). We now report that two additional members of this family regulate the synthesis of (dihydro)ceramides with specific fatty acid(s) when overexpressed in human embryonic kidney 293T cells. TRH1 or TRH4-overexpression elevated [3H](dihydro)ceramide synthesis from l-[3-3H]serine and the increase was not blocked by the (dihydro)ceramide synthase inhibitor, fumonisin B1 (FB1). Analysis of sphingolipids by liquid chromatography-electrospray tandem mass spectrometry revealed that TRH4 overexpression elevated mainly palmitic acid-containing sphingolipids whereas TRH1 overexpression increased mainly stearic acid and arachidic acid, which in both cases were further elevated upon incubation with FB1. A similar fatty acid specificity was obtained upon analysis of (dihydro)ceramide synthase activity in vitro using various fatty acyl-CoA substrates, although in a FB1-sensitive manner. Moreover, in homogenates from TRH4-overexpressing cells, sphinganine, rather than sphingosine was the preferred substrate, whereas no preference was seen in homogenates from TRH1-overexpressing cells. These findings lend support to our hypothesis (Venkataraman, K., and Futerman, A. H. (2002) FEBS Lett. 528, 3-4) that Lag1p family members regulate (dihydro)ceramide synthases responsible for production of sphingolipids containing different fatty acids.
Riebeling, C; Allegood, JC; Wang, E; Merrill, AH; Futerman, AH
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