Impact of Sphingomyelin Synthase 1 Deficiency on Sphingolipid Metabolism and Atherosclerosis in Mice
ABSTRACT Sphingomyelin synthase (SMS) catalyzes the conversion of ceramide to sphingomyelin and sits at the crossroads of sphingolipid biosynthesis. SMS has 2 isoforms: SMS1 and SMS2. Although they have the same SMS activity, they are different enzymes with distinguishable subcellular localizations and cell expression patterns. It is conceivable that these differences could yield different consequences, in terms of sphingolipid metabolism and its related atherogenesis.
We created Sms1 gene knockout mice and found that Sms1 deficiency significantly decreased plasma, liver, and macrophage sphingomyelin (59%, 45%, and 54%, respectively), but only had a marginal effect on ceramide levels. Surprisingly, we found that Sms1 deficiency dramatically increased glucosylceramide and GM3 levels in plasma, liver, and macrophages (4- to 12-fold), whereas Sms2 deficiency had no such effect. We evaluated the total SMS activity in tissues and found that Sms1 deficiency causes 77% reduction in SMS activity in macrophages, indicating SMS1 is the major SMS in macrophages. Moreover, Sms1-deficient macrophages have a significantly higher glucosylceramide synthase activity. We also found that Sms1 deficiency significantly attenuated toll-like 4 receptor-mediated nuclear factor-κB and mitogen-activated protein kinase activation after lipopolysaccharide treatment. To evaluate atherogenicity, we transplanted Sms1 knockout mouse bone marrow into low-density lipoprotein receptor knockout mice (Sms1(-/-)→Ldlr(-/-)). After 3 months on a western diet, these animals showed a significant decrease of atherosclerotic lesions in the root and the entire aorta (35% and 44%, P<0.01, respectively) and macrophage content in lesions (51%, P<0.05), compared with wild-type→Ldlr(-/-) mice.
Sms1 deficiency decreases sphingomyelin, but dramatically increases the levels of glycosphingolipids. Atherosclerosis in Sms1(-/-)→Ldlr(-/-) mice is significantly decreased.
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ABSTRACT: The cellular, macromolecular and neutral lipid composition of the atherosclerotic plaque has been extensively characterized. However, a comprehensive lipidomic analysis of the major lipid classes within atherosclerotic lesions has not been reported. The objective of this study was to produce a detailed framework of the lipids that comprise the atherosclerotic lesion of a widely used pre-clinical model of plaque progression. Male New Zealand White rabbits were administered regular chow supplemented with 0.5% cholesterol (HC) for 12 weeks to induce hypercholesterolemia and atherosclerosis. Our lipidomic analyses of plaques isolated from rabbits fed the HC diet, using ultra-performance liquid chromatography (UPLC) and high-resolution mass spectrometry, detected most of the major lipid classes including: Cholesteryl esters, triacylglycerols, phosphatidylcholines, sphingomyelins, diacylglycerols, fatty acids, phosphatidylserines, lysophosphatidylcholines, ceramides, phosphatidylglycerols, phosphatidylinositols and phosphatidylethanolamines. Given that cholesteryl esters, triacylglycerols and phosphatidylcholines comprise greater than 75% of total plasma lipids, we directed particular attention towards the qualitative and quantitative assessment of the fatty acid composition of these lipids. We additionally found that sphingomyelins were relatively abundant lipid class within lesions, and compared the abundance of sphingomyelins to their precursor phosphatidylcholines. The studies presented here are the first approach to a comprehensive characterization of the atherosclerotic plaque lipidome.International Journal of Molecular Sciences 12/2014; 15(12):23283-23293. DOI:10.3390/ijms151223283 · 2.46 Impact Factor
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ABSTRACT: Sphingomyelin synthase related protein (SMSr) synthesizes the sphingomyelin analog ceramide phosphoethanolamine (CPE) in cells. Previous cell studies indicated that SMSr is involved in ceramide homeostasis and is crucial for cell function. To furhter examine SMSr function in vivo, we generated Smsr KO mice which were fertile and had no obvious phenotypic alterations. Quantitative MS analyses of plasma, liver, and macrophages from the KO mice revealed only marginal changes in CPE and ceramide, as well as other sphingolipid levels. Because SMS2 also has CPE synthase activity, we prepared Smsr/Sms2 double KO mice. We found that CPE levels were not significantly changed in macrophages, suggesting that CPE levels are not exclusively dependent on SMSr and SMS2 activities. We then measured CPE levels in Sms1 KO mice and found that Sms1 deficiency also reduced plasma CPE levels. Importantly, we found that expression of Sms1 or Sms2 in SF9 insect cells not only significantly increased SM but also CPE formation, indicating that SMS1 also has CPE synthase activity. Our study reveals that all mouse SMS family members (SMSr, SMS1, and SMS2) have CPE synthase activity. However, neither CPE nor SMSr appears to be a critical regulator of ceramide levels in vivo. Copyright © 2015, The American Society for Biochemistry and Molecular Biology.
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ABSTRACT: Over the last twenty years, evidence has been provided that the plasma membrane is partitioned with microdomains, laterally mobile in the bilayer, providing the necessary microenvironment to specific membrane proteins for signalling pathways to be initiated. We discuss here the importance of such microdomains for Toll-like receptors (TLR) localization and function. First, lipid microdomains favour recruitment and clustering of the TLR machinery partners, i.e. receptors and co-receptors previously identified to be required for ligand recognition and signal transmission. Further, the presence of the so-called Cholesterol Recognition Amino-Acid Consensus (CRAC) sequences in the intracellular juxtamembrane domain of several Toll-like receptors suggests a direct role of cholesterol in the activation process. This article is part of a Special Issue entitled: Lipid-protein interactions. Copyright © 2015. Published by Elsevier B.V.Biochimica et Biophysica Acta 03/2015; DOI:10.1016/j.bbamem.2015.03.014 · 4.66 Impact Factor