[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Accurate mitotic spindle positioning is essential for the regulation of cell fate choices, cell size and cell position within tissues. The most prominent model of spindle positioning involves a cortical pulling mechanism, where the minus end-directed microtubule motor protein dynein is attached to the cell cortex and exerts pulling forces on the plus ends of astral microtubules that reach the cortex. In nonpolarized cultured cells integrin-dependent, retraction fiber-mediated cell adhesion is involved in spindle orientation. Proteins serving as intermediaries between cortical actin or retraction fibers and astral microtubules remain largely unknown. In a recent genome-wide RNAi screen we identified a previously uncharacterized protein, FASP (focal adhesion-associated and spindle positioning; C19ORF21) as being involved in centrosome clustering, a process leading to the clustering of supernumerary centrosomes in cancer cells into a bipolar mitotic spindle array by microtubule tension. Here, we show that FASP is associated with the actin cytoskeleton and focal adhesions and is expressed only in adherent cell types. During mitosis FASP is phosphorylated by Cdk1 and localizes to retraction fibers. FASP interacts with the +TIP EB1 and p150 (glued) , a subunit of the dynein/dynactin complex. Depletion of FASP causes mitotic arrest with reduced tension across sister kinetochores, chromosome misalignment and spindle multipolarity in cancer cells with supernumerary centrosomes. Analysis of spindle orientation revealed that FASP depletion causes randomization of mitotic spindle positioning relative to cell axes and cell center. Together, we propose that FASP links microtubules to the actin cytoskeleton and focal adhesions in order to properly position the mitotic spindle.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Despite the critical contributions of cilia to embryonic development and human health, key regulators of cilia formation await identification. In this paper, a functional RNA interference-based screen linked 30 novel protein kinases with ciliogenesis. Of them, we have studied the role of the microtubule (MT)-associated protein/MT affinity regulating kinase 4 (MARK4) in depth. MARK4 associated with the basal body and ciliary axoneme in human and murine cell lines. Ultrastructural and functional analyses established that MARK4 kinase activity was required for initiation of axoneme extension. We identified the mother centriolar protein ODF2 as an interaction partner of MARK4 and showed that ODF2 localization to the centriole partially depended on MARK4. Our data indicated that, upon MARK4 or ODF2 knockdown, the ciliary program arrested before the complete removal of the CP110-Cep97 inhibitory complex from the mother centriole, suggesting that these proteins act at this level of axonemal extension. We propose that MARK4 is a critical positive regulator of early steps in ciliogenesis.
The Journal of Cell Biology 02/2013; 200(4):505-22. · 10.82 Impact Factor
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Objective. To investigate the association of FXYD-3 expression with clinicopathological variables and PINCH in patients with ESCC. Patients and Methods. Expression of FXYD-3 protein was immunohistochemically examined in normal esophageal mucous (n = 20) and ESCC (n = 64). Results. Expression of FXYD-3 in the cytoplasm markedly increased from normal esophageal epithelial cells to primary ESCC (P = 0.001). The expression of FXYD-3 was correlated with TNM stages and depth of tumor invasion. Furthermore, the cases with lymph node metastasis tended to show a higher frequency of positive expression than those without metastasis (P = 0.086), and FXYD-3 expression tended to be positively related to the expression of PINCH (P = 0.063). Moreover, the cases positive for both proteins had the highest frequency of lymph node metastasis (P = 0.001). However, FXYD-3 expression was not correlated with patient's gender (P = 0.847), age (P = 0.876), tumor location (P = 0.279), size (P = 0.771), grade of differentiation (P = 0.279), and survival (P = 0.113). Conclusion. Overexpression of FXYD-3 in the cytoplasm may play an important role in the tumorigenesis and development in the human ESCC, particularly in combination with PINCH expression.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Cilia formation is a multi-step process that starts with the docking of a vesicle at the distal part of the mother centriole. This step marks the conversion of the mother centriole into the basal body, from which axonemal microtubules extend to form the ciliary compartment. How vesicles are stably attached to the mother centriole to initiate ciliary membrane biogenesis is unknown. Here, we investigate the molecular role of the mother centriolar component Cep164 in ciliogenesis. We show that Cep164 was indispensable for the docking of vesicles at the mother centriole. Using biochemical and functional assays, we identified the components of the vesicular transport machinery, the GEF Rabin8 and the GTPase Rab8, as interacting partners of Cep164. We propose that Cep164 is targeted to the apical domain of the mother centriole to provide the molecular link between the mother centriole and the membrane biogenesis machinery that initiates cilia formation.
The Journal of Cell Biology 12/2012; · 10.82 Impact Factor
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Foamy viruses (FVs), a unique type of retroviruses, are characterized by several unusual features in their replication strategy. FVs, common to all non-human primates and several other species, display an extremely broad tropism in vitro. Basically all mammalian cells and species examined, but also cells of amphibian or bird origin, are permissive to FV glycoprotein (Env)-mediated capsid release into the cytoplasm. The nature of the broadly expressed, and potentially evolutionary conserved, FV entry receptor molecule(s) is poorly characterized. Though recent data indicate that proteoglycans serve as an important factor for FV Env-mediated target cell attachment, additional uncharacterized molecules appear to be essential for the pH-dependent fusion of viral and cellular lipid membranes after endocytic uptake of virions. Furthermore, FVs show a very special assembly strategy. Unlike other retroviruses, the FV capsid precursor protein (Gag) undergoes only very limited proteolytic processing during assembly. This results in an immature morphology of capsids found in released FV virions. In addition, the FV Gag protein appears to lack a functional membrane-targeting signal. As a consequence, FVs utilize a specific interaction between capsid and cognate viral glycoprotein for initiation of the budding process. Genetic fusion of heterologous targeting domains for plasma but not endosomal membranes to FV Gag enables glycoprotein-independent particle egress. However, this is at the expense of normal capsid morphogenesis and infectivity. The low level Gag precursor processing and the requirement for a reversible, artificial Gag membrane association for effective pseudotyping of FV capsids by heterologous glycoproteins strongly suggest that FVs require a transient interaction of capsids with cellular membranes for viral replication. Under natural condition this appears to be achieved by the lack of a membrane targeting function of the FV Gag protein and the accomplishment of capsid membrane attachment through an unusual specific interaction with the cognate glycoprotein.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Centrioles are key structural elements of centrosomes and primary cilia. In mammals, only a few proteins including PLK4, CPAP (CENPJ), SAS6, CEP192, CEP152 and CEP135 have thus far been identified to be required for centriole duplication. STIL (SCL/TAL1 interrupting locus, also known as SIL) is a centrosomal protein that is essential for mouse and zebrafish embryonic development and mutated in primary microcephaly. Here, we show that STIL localizes to the pericentriolar material surrounding parental centrioles. Its overexpression results in excess centriole formation. siRNA-mediated depletion of STIL leads to loss of centrioles and abrogates PLK4-induced centriole overduplication. Additionally, we show that STIL is necessary for SAS6 recruitment to centrioles, suggesting that it is essential for daughter centriole formation, interacts with the centromere protein CPAP and rapidly shuttles between the cytoplasm and centrioles. Consistent with the requirement of centrioles for cilia formation, Stil(-/-) mouse embryonic fibroblasts lack primary cilia--a phenotype that can be reverted by restoration of STIL expression. These findings demonstrate that STIL is an essential component of the centriole replication machinery in mammalian cells.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Involvement of dysregulated autophagy in cancer growth and progression has been shown in different tumour entities, including pancreatic ductal adenocarcinoma (PDA). PDA is an extremely aggressive tumour characterized by a small population of highly therapy-resistant cancer stem cells (CSCs) capable of self-renewal and migration. We examined whether autophagy might be involved in the survival of CSCs despite nutrition and oxygen deprivation typical for the hypoxic tumour microenvironment of PDA. Immunohistochemistry revealed that markers for hypoxia, CSCs and autophagy are co-expressed in patient-derived tissue of PDA. Hypoxia starvation (H/S) enhanced clonogenic survival and migration of established pancreatic cancer cells with stem-like properties (CSC(high)), while pancreatic tumour cells with fewer stem cell markers (CSC(low)) did not survive these conditions. Electron microscopy revealed more advanced autophagic vesicles in CSC(high) cells, which exhibited higher expression of autophagy-related genes under normoxic conditions and relative to CSC(low) cells, as found by RT-PCR and western blot analysis. LC3 was already fully converted to the active LC3-II form in both cell lines, as evaluated by western blot and detection of accumulated GFP-LC3 protein by fluorescence microscopy. H/S increased formation of autophagic and acid vesicles, as well as expression of autophagy-related genes, to a higher extent in CSC(high) cells. Modulation of autophagy by inhibitors and activators resensitized CSC(high) to apoptosis and diminished clonogenicity, spheroid formation, expression of CSC-related genes, migratory activity and tumourigenicity in mice. Our data suggest that enhanced autophagy levels may enable survival of CSC(high) cells under H/S. Interference with autophagy-activating or -inhibiting drugs disturbs the fine-tuned physiological balance of enhanced autophagy in CSC and switches survival signalling to suicide.
The Journal of Pathology 01/2012; 227(3):325-35. · 7.59 Impact Factor
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Ring-forming AAA(+) ATPases act in a plethora of cellular processes by remodeling macromolecules. The specificity of individual AAA(+) proteins is achieved by direct or adaptor-mediated association with substrates via distinct recognition domains. We investigated the molecular basis of substrate interaction for Vibrio cholerae ClpV, which disassembles tubular VipA/VipB complexes, an essential step of type VI protein secretion and bacterial virulence. We identified the ClpV recognition site within VipB, showed that productive ClpV-VipB interaction requires the oligomeric state of both proteins, solved the crystal structure of a ClpV N-domain-VipB peptide complex, and verified the interaction surface by mutant analysis. Our results show that the substrate is bound to a hydrophobic groove, which is formed by the addition of a single α-helix to the core N-domain. This helix is absent from homologous N-domains, explaining the unique substrate specificity of ClpV. A limited interaction surface between both proteins accounts for the dramatic increase in binding affinity upon ATP-driven ClpV hexamerization and VipA/VipB tubule assembly by coupling multiple weak interactions. This principle ensures ClpV selectivity toward the VipA/VipB macromolecular complex.
Journal of Biological Chemistry 08/2011; 286(34):30010-21. · 4.65 Impact Factor
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Foamy viruses (FVs) unlike orthoretroviruses express Pol as a separate precursor protein and not as a Gag-Pol fusion protein. A unique packaging strategy, involving recognition of briding viral RNA by both Pol precursor and Gag as well as potential Gag-Pol protein interactions, ensures Pol particle encapsidation.
Several Prototype FV (PFV) Gag-Pol fusion protein constructs were generated to examine whether PFV replication is compatible with an orthoretroviral-like Pol expression. During their analysis, non-particle-associated secreted Pol precursor protein was discovered in extracellular wild type PFV particle preparations of different origin, copurifying in simple virion enrichment protocols. Different analysis methods suggest that extracellular wild type PFV particles contain predominantly mature p85(PR-RT) and p40(IN) Pol subunits. Characterization of various PFV Gag-Pol fusion constructs revealed that PFV Pol expression in an orthoretroviral manner is compatible with PFV replication as long as a proteolytic processing between Gag and Pol proteins is possible. PFV Gag-Pol translation by a HIV-1 like ribosomal frameshift signal resulted in production of replication-competent virions, although cell- and particle-associated Pol levels were reduced in comparison to wild type. In-frame fusion of PFV Gag and Pol ORFs led to increased cellular Pol levels, but particle incorporation was only marginally elevated. Unlike that reported for similar orthoretroviral constructs, a full-length in-frame PFV Gag-Pol fusion construct showed wildtype-like particle release and infectivity characteristics. In contrast, in-frame PFV Gag-Pol fusion with C-terminal Gag ORF truncations or non-removable Gag peptide addition to Pol displayed wildtype particle release, but reduced particle infectivity. PFV Gag-Pol precursor fusion proteins with inactivated protease were highly deficient in regular particle release, although coexpression of p71(Gag) resulted in a significant copackaging of these proteins.
Non-particle associated PFV Pol appears to be naturally released from infected cells by a yet unknown mechanism. The absence of particle-associated Pol precursor suggests its rapid processing upon particle incorporation. Analysis of different PFV Gag-Pol fusion constructs demonstrates that orthoretroviral-like Pol expression is compatible with FV replication in principal as long as fusion protein processing is possible. Furthermore, unlike orthoretroviruses, PFV particle release and infectivity tolerate larger differences in relative cellular Gag/Pol levels.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: The broccoli isothiocyanate, sulforaphane (SFN), was recently identified as being capable of eliminating highly therapy-resistant pancreatic carcinoma (PC) cells without inducing toxic side effects. While SFN has been shown to stimulate autophagy or 'self-eating', it is unclear whether this catabolic process is a pro- or anti-tumorigenic response. To investigate the role of autophagy in SFN-induced cell death, established PC cell lines were treated with SFN, and the induction of autophagy was evaluated by detecting the abundance of autophagic vesicles by electron microscopy, the increase in converted LC3-II by Western blot analysis and the autophagosome puncta of GFP-LC3 by immunofluorescence. SFN-induced autophagy was suppressed by the autophagy inhibitor chloroquine, while the autophagy inducer rapamycin did not further enhance autophagy in PC cells. Importantly, neither modulator altered SFN cytotoxicity, suggesting that SFN-induced autophagy and cell death act independently of each other. In contrast, the antioxidant N-acetyl-cysteine sustained cell viability and prevented autophagy induction after SFN exposure, indicating that both signaling pathways depend on reactive oxygen species (ROS). Our studies provide a valuable new mechanistic insight into the SFN-induced elimination of PC cells and suggest that an SFN-enriched diet potentially enhances ROS-releasing chemotherapeutic agents.
International Journal of Oncology 07/2011; 39(1):101-9. · 2.66 Impact Factor
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Activating mutations of the serine threonine kinase v-RAF murine sarcoma viral oncogene homolog B1 (BRAF) are frequent in benign and malignant human tumors and are emerging as an important biomarker. Over 95% of BRAF mutations are of the V600E type and specific small molecular inhibitors are currently under pre-clinical or clinical investigation. BRAF mutation status is determined by DNA-based methods, most commonly by sequencing. Here we describe the development of a monoclonal BRAF V600E mutation-specific antibody that can differentiate BRAF V600E and wild type protein in routinely processed formalin-fixed and paraffin-embedded tissue. A total of 47 intracerebral melanoma metastases and 21 primary papillary thyroid carcinomas were evaluated by direct sequencing of BRAF and by immunohistochemistry using the BRAF V600E mutation-specific antibody clone VE1. Correlation of VE1 immunohistochemistry and BRAF sequencing revealed a perfect match for both papillary thyroid carcinomas and melanoma metastases. The staining intensity in BRAF V600E mutated tumor samples ranged from weak to strong. The generally homogenous VE1 staining patterns argue against a clonal heterogeneity of the tumors investigated. Caution is essential when only poorly preserved tissue is available for VE1 immunohistochemical analysis or when tissues with only little total BRAF protein are analyzed. Immunohistochemistry using antibody VE1 may substantially facilitate molecular analysis of BRAF V600E status for diagnostic, prognostic, and predictive purposes.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Joubert syndrome (JBTS) is characterized by a specific brain malformation with various additional pathologies. It results from mutations in any one of at least 10 different genes, including NPHP1, which encodes nephrocystin-1. JBTS has been linked to dysfunction of primary cilia, since the gene products known to be associated with the disorder localize to this evolutionarily ancient organelle. Here we report the identification of a disease locus, JBTS12, with mutations in the KIF7 gene, an ortholog of the Drosophila kinesin Costal2, in a consanguineous JBTS family and subsequently in other JBTS patients. Interestingly, KIF7 is a known regulator of Hedgehog signaling and a putative ciliary motor protein. We found that KIF7 co-precipitated with nephrocystin-1. Further, knockdown of KIF7 expression in cell lines caused defects in cilia formation and induced abnormal centrosomal duplication and fragmentation of the Golgi network. These cellular phenotypes likely resulted from abnormal tubulin acetylation and microtubular dynamics. Thus, we suggest that modified microtubule stability and growth direction caused by loss of KIF7 function may be an underlying disease mechanism contributing to JBTS.
The Journal of clinical investigation 06/2011; 121(7):2662-7. · 15.39 Impact Factor
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Spatial and timely coordination of cytokinesis is crucial for the maintenance of organelle inheritance and genome integrity. The mitotic exit network (MEN) pathway controls both the timely initiation of mitotic exit and cytokinesis in budding yeast. Here we identified the conserved F-BAR protein Hof1 as a substrate of the MEN kinase complex Dbf2-Mob1 during cytokinesis. We show that polo-like kinase Cdc5 first phosphorylates Hof1 to allow subsequent phosphorylation by Dbf2-Mob1. This releases Hof1 from the septin ring and facilitates Hof1 binding to the medial actomyosin ring (AMR), where Hof1 promotes AMR contraction and membrane ingression. Domain structure analysis established that the central, unstructured, region of Hof1, named the ring localization sequence (RLS), is sufficient to mediate Hof1's binding to the medial ring in a cell cycle-dependent manner. Genetic and functional data support a model in which Dbf2-Mob1 regulates Hof1 by inducing domain rearrangements, leading to the exposure of the Hof1 RLS domain during telophase.
Genes & development 04/2011; 25(8):875-88. · 12.08 Impact Factor
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Prototype foamy virus (PFV) Gag lacks the characteristic orthoretroviral Cys-His motifs that are essential for various steps of the orthoretroviral replication cycle, such as RNA packaging, reverse transcription, infectivity, integration, and viral assembly. Instead, it contains three glycine-arginine-rich boxes (GR boxes) in its C terminus that putatively represent a functional equivalent. We used a four-plasmid replication-deficient PFV vector system, with uncoupled RNA genome packaging and structural protein translation, to analyze the effects of deletion and various substitution mutations within each GR box on particle release, particle-associated protein composition, RNA packaging, DNA content, infectivity, particle morphology, and intracellular localization. The degree of viral particle release by all mutants was similar to that of the wild type. Only minimal effects on Pol encapsidation, exogenous reverse transcriptase (RT) activity, and genomic viral RNA packaging were observed. In contrast, particle-associated DNA content and infectivity were drastically reduced for all deletion mutants and were undetectable for all alanine substitution mutants. Furthermore, GR box I mutants had significant changes in particle morphology, and GR box II mutants lacked the typical nuclear localization pattern of PFV Gag. Finally, it could be shown that GR boxes I and III, but not GR box II, can functionally complement each other. It therefore appears that, similar to the orthoretroviral Cys-His motifs, the PFV Gag GR boxes are important for RNA encapsidation, genome reverse transcription, and virion infectivity as well as for particle morphogenesis.
Journal of Virology 02/2011; 85(4):1452-63. · 5.08 Impact Factor
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Nephronophthisis is the most common genetic cause of end-stage renal failure during childhood and adolescence. Genetic studies have identified disease-causing mutations in at least 11 different genes (NPHP1-11), but the function of the corresponding nephrocystin proteins remains poorly understood. The two evolutionarily conserved proteins nephrocystin-1 (NPHP1) and nephrocystin-4 (NPHP4) interact and localize to cilia in kidney, retina, and brain characterizing nephronophthisis and associated pathologies as result of a ciliopathy. Here we show that NPHP4, but not truncating patient mutations, negatively regulates tyrosine phosphorylation of NPHP1. NPHP4 counteracts Pyk2-mediated phosphorylation of three defined tyrosine residues of NPHP1 thereby controlling binding of NPHP1 to the trans-Golgi sorting protein PACS-1. Knockdown of NPHP4 resulted in an accumulation of NPHP1 in trans-Golgi vesicles of ciliated retinal epithelial cells. These data strongly suggest that NPHP4 acts upstream of NPHP1 in a common pathway and support the concept of a role for nephrocystin proteins in intracellular vesicular transport.
Journal of Biological Chemistry 02/2011; 286(16):14237-45. · 4.65 Impact Factor
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Primary ciliary dyskinesia (PCD) is an inherited disorder characterized by recurrent infections of the upper and lower respiratory tract, reduced fertility in males and situs inversus in about 50% of affected individuals (Kartagener syndrome). It is caused by motility defects in the respiratory cilia that are responsible for airway clearance, the flagella that propel sperm cells and the nodal monocilia that determine left-right asymmetry. Recessive mutations that cause PCD have been identified in genes encoding components of the outer dynein arms, radial spokes and cytoplasmic pre-assembly factors of axonemal dyneins, but these mutations account for only about 50% of cases of PCD. We exploited the unique properties of dog populations to positionally clone a new PCD gene, CCDC39. We found that loss-of-function mutations in the human ortholog underlie a substantial fraction of PCD cases with axonemal disorganization and abnormal ciliary beating. Functional analyses indicated that CCDC39 localizes to ciliary axonemes and is essential for assembly of inner dynein arms and the dynein regulatory complex.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Interphase nuclear architecture is disrupted and rapidly reformed with each cell division cycle. Successive cell generations exhibit a "memory" of this nuclear architecture, as well as for gene expression. Furthermore, many features of nuclear and mitotic chromosome structure are recognizably species and tissue specific. We wish to know what properties of the underlying chromatin structure may determine these conserved features of nuclear architecture. Employing a particular mouse autoimmune anti-nucleosome monoclonal antibody (PL2-6), combined with deconvolution immunofluorescence microscopy, we present evidence for a unique epitope (involving a ternary complex of histones H2A and H2B and DNA) which is localized only at the exterior chromatin surface of interphase nuclei and mitotic chromosomes in mammalian, invertebrate and plant systems. As only the surface chromatin region is identified with antibody PL2-6, we have assigned it the name "epichromatin". We describe an "epichromatin hypothesis", suggesting that epichromatin may have a unique evolutionary conserved conformation which facilitates interaction with the reforming post-mitotic nuclear envelope and a rapid return of interphase nuclear architecture.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Using novel antibodies of high avidity to--and specificity for--the constitutive desmosomal plaque protein, plakophilin-2 (Pkp2), in a systematic study of the molecular composition of junctions connecting the cells of soft tissue tumors, we have discovered with immunocytochemical, biochemical and electron microscopical methods, a novel type of adherens junctions in all 32 cardiac myxomata examined. These junctions contain cadherin-11 as their major transmembrane glycoprotein, which we could repeatedly show in colocalization with N-cadherin, anchored in a cytoplasmic plaque formed by α- and β-catenin, together with the further armadillo-type proteins plakoglobin, p120, p0071 and ARVCF. Surprisingly, all adherens junctions of these tumors contained, in addition, another major armadillo protein Pkp2, hitherto known as an obligatory and characteristic constituent of desmosomes in epithelium-derived tumors. We have not detected Pkp2 in a series of noncardiac myxomata studied in parallel. Therefore, we conclude that this acquisition of Pkp2, which we have recently also observed in some mesenchymally derived cells growing in culture, can also occur in tumorigenic transformations in situ. We propose to examine the marker value of Pkp2 in clinical diagnoses of cardiac myxomata and to develop Pkp2-targeted therapeutic reagents.
Modern Pathology 11/2010; 23(11):1429-37. · 5.25 Impact Factor
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: The search for cancer cell-specific targets suffers from a lack of integrative approaches that take into account the relative contributions of several mechanisms or pathways involved in cell death. A systematic experimental and computational comparison of murine glioma cells with astrocytes, their nontransformed counterparts, identified differences in the sphingolipid (SL) rheostat linked to an increased lysosomal instability in glioma cells. In vitro and in silico analyses indicate that sphingosine metabolized in lysosomes was preferentially recycled into ceramide, the prodeath member of the rheostat, in astrocytes. In glioma cells, it preferentially was used for production of the prosurvival sphingosine-1-phosphate (S1P). A combination of tumor necrosis factor alpha (TNF-alpha), lipopolysaccharide (LPS), and interferon gamma (IFN-gamma) strongly decreased S1P production that resulted in abnormal lysosome enlargement and cell death associated with mitochondrial dysfunction of glioma cells only. Lack of intracellular S1P in glioma cells was concomitant with protein and lipid accumulation in enlarged lysosomes, indicating a blockade in lysosome recycling, and hence a role for S1P in membrane trafficking. A pharmacological sphingosine kinase inhibitor efficiently replaced the TNF-alpha, LPS, and IFN-gamma combination and killed murine and human glioma cells without affecting astrocytes. Our study provides evidence for a novel mechanism of lysosomal death dependent upon the SL rheostat that can be specifically triggered in glioma cells. It further strengthens the potential of cancer therapies based on specific ceramide pathway alterations.