Article

ConditionalLoxP-flanked glucosylceramide synthase allele controlling glycosphingolipid synthesis

Genetics of Development and Disease Branch, National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases, National Institutes of Health, Bethesda, Maryland, USA.
genesis (Impact Factor: 2.04). 12/2005; 43(4):175-80. DOI: 10.1002/gene.20167
Source: PubMed

ABSTRACT Glycosphingolipids are organizational building blocks of plasma membranes that participate in key cellular functions, such as signaling and cell-to-cell interactions. Glucosylceramide synthase--encoded by the Ugcg gene--controls the first committed step in the major pathway of glycosphingolipid synthesis. Global disruption of the Ugcg gene in mice is lethal during gastrulation. We have now established a Ugcg allele flanked by loxP sites (floxed). When cre recombinase was expressed in the nervous system under control of the nestin promoter, the floxed gene underwent recombination, resulting in a substantial reduction of Ugcg expression and of glycosphingolipid ganglio-series levels. The mice deficient in Ugcg expression in the nervous system show a striking loss of Purkinje cells and abnormal neurologic behavior. The floxed Ugcg allele will facilitate analysis of the function of glycosphingolipids in development, physiology, and in diseases such as diabetes and cancer.

0 Followers
 · 
65 Views
  • [Show abstract] [Hide abstract]
    ABSTRACT: In recent decades, many sphingolipid enzymes, sphingolipid-metabolism regulators, and sphingolipid transfer proteins have been isolated and characterized. This review will provide an overview of the intracellular localization and topology of sphingolipid enzymes in mammalian cells to highlight the locations where respective sphingolipid species are produced. Interestingly, three sphingolipids that reside or are synthesized in cytosolic leaflets of membranes (ceramide, glucosylceramide and ceramide-1-phosphate) all have cytosolic lipid transfer proteins (LTPs). These LTPs consist of ceramide transfer protein (CERT), four-phosphate adaptor protein 2 (FAPP2) and ceramide-1-phosphate transfer protein (CPTP), respectively. These LTPs execute functions that affect both the location and metabolism of the lipids they bind. Molecular details describing the mechanisms of regulation of LTPs continue to emerge and reveal a number of critical processes, including competing phosphorylation and dephosphorylation reactions and binding interactions with regulatory proteins and lipids, that influence the transport, organelle distribution and metabolism of sphingolipids.
    Traffic 11/2014; 16(2). DOI:10.1111/tra.12239 · 4.71 Impact Factor
  • [Show abstract] [Hide abstract]
    ABSTRACT: Glycosphingolipids (GSLs) are a group of plasma-membrane lipids notable for their extremely diverse glycan head groups. The metabolic pathways for GSLs, including the identity of the biosynthetic enzymes needed for synthesis of their glycans, are now well understood. Many of their cellular functions, which include plasma-membrane organization, regulation of cell signaling, endocytosis, and serving as binding sites for pathogens and endogenous receptors, have also been established. However, an understanding of their functions in vivo had been lagging. Studies employing genetic manipulations of the GSL synthesis pathways in mice have been used to systematically reduce the large numbers and complexity of GSL glycan structures, allowing the in vivo functions of GSLs to be revealed from analysis of the resulting phenotypes. Findings from these studies have produced a clearer picture of the role of GSLs in mammalian physiology, which is the topic of this review.
    Glycoconjugate Journal 10/2014; DOI:10.1007/s10719-014-9563-5 · 1.95 Impact Factor
  • [Show abstract] [Hide abstract]
    ABSTRACT: Every cell in nature carries a rich surface coat of glycans, its glycocalyx, which constitutes the cell's interface with its environment. In eukaryotes, the glycocalyx is composed of glycolipids, glycoproteins, and proteoglycans, the compositions of which vary among different tissues and cell types. Many of the linear and branched glycans on cell surface glycoproteins and glycolipids of vertebrates are terminated with sialic acids, nine-carbon sugars with a carboxylic acid, a glycerol side-chain, and an N-acyl group that, along with their display at the outmost end of cell surface glycans, provide for varied molecular interactions. Among their functions, sialic acids regulate cell-cell interactions, modulate the activities of their glycoprotein and glycolipid scaffolds as well as other cell surface molecules, and are receptors for pathogens and toxins. In the brain, two families of sialoglycans are of particular interest: gangliosides and polysialic acid. Gangliosides, sialylated glycosphingolipids, are the most abundant sialoglycans of nerve cells. Mouse genetic studies and human disorders of ganglioside metabolism implicate gangliosides in axon-myelin interactions, axon stability, axon regeneration, and the modulation of nerve cell excitability. Polysialic acid is a unique homopolymer that reaches >90 sialic acid residues attached to select glycoproteins, especially the neural cell adhesion molecule in the brain. Molecular, cellular, and genetic studies implicate polysialic acid in the control of cell-cell and cell-matrix interactions, intermolecular interactions at cell surfaces, and interactions with other molecules in the cellular environment. Polysialic acid is essential for appropriate brain development, and polymorphisms in the human genes responsible for polysialic acid biosynthesis are associated with psychiatric disorders including schizophrenia, autism, and bipolar disorder. Polysialic acid also appears to play a role in adult brain plasticity, including regeneration. Together, vertebrate brain sialoglycans are key regulatory components that contribute to proper development, maintenance, and health of the nervous system.
    Physiological Reviews 04/2014; 94(2):461-518. DOI:10.1152/physrev.00033.2013 · 29.04 Impact Factor