Fabio Simbari

Medical University of South Carolina, Charleston, SC, United States

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Publications (10)47.62 Total impact

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    ABSTRACT: Melanoma is a rapidly growing and highly metastatic cancer with high mortality rates, for which a resolutive treatment is lacking. Identification of novel therapeutic strategies and biomarkers of tumour stage is thus of particular relevance. We report here on a novel biomarker and possible candidate therapeutic target, the sphingolipid metabolising enzyme acid sphingomyelinase (A-SMase). A-SMase expression correlates inversely with tumour stage in human melanoma biopsies. Studies in a mouse model of melanoma and on cell lines derived from mouse and human melanomas demonstrated that A-SMase levels of expression actually determine the malignant phenotype of melanoma cells in terms of pigmentation, tumour progression, invasiveness and metastatic ability. The action of A-SMase is mediated by the activation of the extracellular signal-regulated kinase, the subsequent proteasomal degradation of the Microphtalmia-associated transcription factor (Mitf) and inhibition of cyclin-dependent kinase 2, Bcl-2 and c-Met, downstream targets of Mitf involved in tumour cell proliferation, survival and metastatisation.Cell Death and Differentiation advance online publication, 6 December 2013; doi:10.1038/cdd.2013.173.
    Cell death and differentiation 12/2013; · 8.24 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Hemophagocytic lymphohistiocytosis (HLH) is a rare systemic inflammatory syndrome that results from unrestrained immune cell activation. Despite significant advances in the understanding of the pathophysiology of HLH, interventions remain limited for this often-fatal condition. Secretory sphingomyelinase (S-SMase) is a pro-inflammatory lipid hydrolase that is upregulated in several inflammatory conditions, including HLH. S-SMase promotes the formation of ceramide, a bioactive lipid implicated in several human disease states. However, the role of the S-SMase/ceramide pathway in HLH remains unexplored. To further evaluate the role of S-SMase upregulation in HLH, we tested the serum of patients with HLH (n=16; primary=3, secondary=13) and healthy control patients (n=25) for serum S-SMase activity with tandem sphingolipid metabolomic profiling. Patients with HLH exhibited elevated levels of serum S-SMase activity, with concomitant elevations in several ceramide species and sphingosine, while levels of sphingosine-1-phosphate were significantly decreased. Importantly, the ratio of C16 -ceramide:sphingosine was uniquely elevated in HLH patients that died despite appropriate treatment, but remained low in HLH patients that survived, suggesting that this ratio may be of prognostic significance. Together, these results demonstrate upregulation of the S-SMase/ceramide pathway in HLH, and suggest that the balance of ceramide and sphingosine determine clinical outcomes in HLH.
    American Journal of Hematology 07/2013; · 4.00 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Three analogs of the dihydroceramide desaturase inhibitor XM462 are reported. The compounds inhibit both dihydroceramide desaturase and acid ceramidase, but with different potencies depending on the N-acyl moiety. Other enzymes of sphingolipid metabolism, such as neutral ceramidase, acid sphingomyelinase, acid glucosylceramide hydrolase, sphingomyelin synthase and glucosylceramide synthase, are not affected. The effect on the sphingolipidome of the two best inhibitors, namely (R,E)-N-(1-hydroxy-4-(tridecylthio)but-3-en-2-yl)octanamide (RBM2-1B) and (R,E)-N-(1-hydroxy-4-(tridecylthio)but-3-en-2-yl)pivalamide (RBM2-1D), is in accordance with the results obtained in the enzyme assays. These two compounds reduce cell viability in A549 and HCT116 cell lines with similar potencies and both induced apoptotic cell death to similar levels than C8-Cer in HCT116 cells. The possible therapeutic implications of the activities of these compounds are discussed.
    Bioorganic & medicinal chemistry 04/2012; 20(10):3173-9. · 2.82 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Acid sphingomyelinase (aSMase) generates the bioactive lipid ceramide (Cer) from hydrolysis of sphingomyelin (SM). However, its precise roles in regulating specific sphingolipid-mediated biological processes remain ill defined. Interestingly, the aSMase gene gives rise to two distinct enzymes, lysosomal sphingomyelinase (L-SMase) and secretory sphingomyelinase (S-SMase) via alternative trafficking of a shared protein precursor. Previously, our laboratory identified Ser508 as a crucial residue for the constitutive and regulated secretion of S-SMase in response to inflammatory cytokines, and demonstrated a role for S-SMase in formation of select cellular Cer species (Jenkins, R. W., Canals, D., Idkowiak-Baldys, J., Simbari, F., Roddy, P., Perry, D. M., Kitatani, K., Luberto, C., and Hannun, Y. A. (2010) J. Biol. Chem. 285, 35706–35718). In the present study using a chemokine/cytokine screen, we identified the chemokine CCL5 (formerly known as RANTES) as a candidate-specific downstream target for aSMase. Regulation of CCL5 by aSMase was subsequently validated using both loss-of-function and gain-of-function models indicating that aSMase is both necessary and sufficient for CCL5 production. Interestingly, cells deficient in acid ceramidase (aCDase) also exhibited defects in CCL5 induction, whereas cells deficient in sphingosine kinase-1 and -2 exhibited higher levels of CCL5, suggesting that sphingosine and not sphingosine 1-phosphate (S1P) is responsible for the positive signal to CCL5. Consistent with this, co-expression of aSMase and aCDase was sufficient to strongly induce CCL5. Taken together, these data identify a novel role for aSMase (particularly S-SMase) in chemokine elaboration by pro-inflammatory cytokines and highlight a novel and shared function for aSMase and aCDase.
    Journal of Biological Chemistry 04/2011; 286(15):13292-13303. · 4.65 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Acid sphingomyelinase (aSMase) catalyzes the hydrolysis of sphingomyelin (SM) to form the bioactive lipid ceramide (Cer). Notably, aSMase exists in two forms: a zinc (Zn2+)-independent lysosomal aSMase (L-SMase) and a Zn2+-dependent secreted aSMase (S-SMase) that arise from alternative trafficking of a single protein precursor. Despite extensive investigation into the maturation and trafficking of aSMase, the exact identity of mature L-SMase has remained unclear. Here, we describe a novel mechanism of aSMase maturation involving C-terminal proteolytic processing within, or in close proximity to, endolysosomes. Using two different C-terminal-tagged constructs of aSMase (V5, DsRed), we demonstrate that aSMase is processed from a 75-kDa, Zn2+-activated proenzyme to a mature 65 kDa, Zn2+-independent L-SMase. L-SMase is recognized by a polyclonal Ab to aSMase, but not by anti-V5 or anti-DsRed antibodies, suggesting that the C-terminal tag is lost during maturation. Furthermore, indirect immunofluorescence staining demonstrated that mature L-SMase colocalized with the lysosomal marker LAMP1, whereas V5-aSMase localized to the Golgi secretory pathway. Moreover, V5-aSMase possessed Zn2+-dependent activity suggesting it may represent the common protein precursor of S-SMase and L-SMase. Importantly, the 65-kDa L-SMase, but not V5-aSMase, was sensitive to the lysosomotropic inhibitor desipramine, co-fractionated with lysosomes, and migrated at the same Mr as partially purified human aSMase. Finally, three aSMase mutants containing C-terminal Niemann-Pick mutations (R600H, R600P, ΔR608) exhibited defective proteolytic maturation. Taken together, these results demonstrate that mature L-SMase arises from C-terminal proteolytic processing of pro-aSMase and suggest that impaired C-terminal proteolysis may lead to severe defects in L-SMase function.
    Journal of Biological Chemistry 02/2011; 286(5):3777-3788. · 4.65 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Acid sphingomyelinase (aSMase) catalyzes the hydrolysis of sphingomyelin (SM) to form the bioactive lipid ceramide (Cer). Notably, aSMase exists in two forms: a zinc (Zn(2+))-independent lysosomal aSMase (L-SMase) and a Zn(2+)-dependent secreted aSMase (S-SMase) that arise from alternative trafficking of a single protein precursor. Despite extensive investigation into the maturation and trafficking of aSMase, the exact identity of mature L-SMase has remained unclear. Here, we describe a novel mechanism of aSMase maturation involving C-terminal proteolytic processing within, or in close proximity to, endolysosomes. Using two different C-terminal-tagged constructs of aSMase (V5, DsRed), we demonstrate that aSMase is processed from a 75-kDa, Zn(2+)-activated proenzyme to a mature 65 kDa, Zn(2+)-independent L-SMase. L-SMase is recognized by a polyclonal Ab to aSMase, but not by anti-V5 or anti-DsRed antibodies, suggesting that the C-terminal tag is lost during maturation. Furthermore, indirect immunofluorescence staining demonstrated that mature L-SMase colocalized with the lysosomal marker LAMP1, whereas V5-aSMase localized to the Golgi secretory pathway. Moreover, V5-aSMase possessed Zn(2+)-dependent activity suggesting it may represent the common protein precursor of S-SMase and L-SMase. Importantly, the 65-kDa L-SMase, but not V5-aSMase, was sensitive to the lysosomotropic inhibitor desipramine, co-fractionated with lysosomes, and migrated at the same M(r) as partially purified human aSMase. Finally, three aSMase mutants containing C-terminal Niemann-Pick mutations (R600H, R600P, ΔR608) exhibited defective proteolytic maturation. Taken together, these results demonstrate that mature L-SMase arises from C-terminal proteolytic processing of pro-aSMase and suggest that impaired C-terminal proteolysis may lead to severe defects in L-SMase function.
    Journal of Biological Chemistry 02/2011; 286(5):3777-88. · 4.65 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Acid sphingomyelinase (aSMase) generates the bioactive lipid ceramide (Cer) from hydrolysis of sphingomyelin (SM). However, its precise roles in regulating specific sphingolipid-mediated biological processes remain ill defined. Interestingly, the aSMase gene gives rise to two distinct enzymes, lysosomal sphingomyelinase (L-SMase) and secretory sphingomyelinase (S-SMase) via alternative trafficking of a shared protein precursor. Previously, our laboratory identified Ser(508) as a crucial residue for the constitutive and regulated secretion of S-SMase in response to inflammatory cytokines, and demonstrated a role for S-SMase in formation of select cellular Cer species (Jenkins, R. W., Canals, D., Idkowiak-Baldys, J., Simbari, F., Roddy, P., Perry, D. M., Kitatani, K., Luberto, C., and Hannun, Y. A. (2010) J. Biol. Chem. 285, 35706-35718). In the present study using a chemokine/cytokine screen, we identified the chemokine CCL5 (formerly known as RANTES) as a candidate-specific downstream target for aSMase. Regulation of CCL5 by aSMase was subsequently validated using both loss-of-function and gain-of-function models indicating that aSMase is both necessary and sufficient for CCL5 production. Interestingly, cells deficient in acid ceramidase (aCDase) also exhibited defects in CCL5 induction, whereas cells deficient in sphingosine kinase-1 and -2 exhibited higher levels of CCL5, suggesting that sphingosine and not sphingosine 1-phosphate (S1P) is responsible for the positive signal to CCL5. Consistent with this, co-expression of aSMase and aCDase was sufficient to strongly induce CCL5. Taken together, these data identify a novel role for aSMase (particularly S-SMase) in chemokine elaboration by pro-inflammatory cytokines and highlight a novel and shared function for aSMase and aCDase.
    Journal of Biological Chemistry 02/2011; 286(15):13292-303. · 4.65 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Acid sphingomyelinase (A-SMase) is an important enzyme in sphingolipid metabolism and plays key roles in apoptosis, immunity, development, and cancer. In addition, it mediates cytotoxicity of cisplatin and some other chemotherapeutic drugs. The mechanism of A-SMase activation is still undefined. We now demonstrate that, upon CD95 stimulation, A-SMase is activated through translocation from intracellular compartments to the plasma membrane in an exocytic pathway requiring the t-SNARE protein syntaxin 4. Indeed, down-regulation of syntaxin 4 inhibits A-SMase translocation and activation induced by CD95 stimulation. This leads to inhibition of the CD95-triggered signaling events, including caspase 3 and 9 activation and apoptosis, activation of the survival pathway involving the protein kinase Akt, and important changes in cell cycle and proliferation. The molecular interaction between A-SMase and syntaxin 4 was not known and clarifies the mechanism of A-SMase activation. The novel actions of syntaxin 4 in sphingolipid metabolism and exocytosis we describe here define signaling mechanisms of broad relevance in cell pathophysiology.
    Journal of Biological Chemistry 12/2010; 285(51):40240-40251. · 4.65 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: The acid sphingomyelinase (aSMase) gene gives rise to two distinct enzymes, lysosomal sphingomyelinase (L-SMase) and secretory sphingomyelinase (S-SMase), via differential trafficking of a common protein precursor. However, the regulation of S-SMase and its role in cytokine-induced ceramide formation remain ill defined. To determine the role of S-SMase in cellular sphingolipid metabolism, MCF7 breast carcinoma cells stably transfected with V5-aSMase(WT) were treated with inflammatory cytokines. Interleukin-1β and tumor necrosis factor-α induced a time- and dose-dependent increase in S-SMase secretion and activity, coincident with selective elevations in cellular C(16)-ceramide. To establish a role for S-SMase, we utilized a mutant of aSMase (S508A) that is shown to retain L-SMase activity, but is defective in secretion. MCF7 expressing V5-aSMase(WT) exhibited increased S-SMase and L-SMase activity, as well as elevated cellular levels of specific long-chain and very long-chain ceramide species relative to vector control MCF7. Interestingly, elevated levels of only certain very long-chain ceramides were evident in V5-aSMase(S508A) MCF7. Secretion of the S508A mutant was also defective in response to IL-1β, as was the regulated generation of C(16)-ceramide. Taken together, these data support a crucial role for Ser(508) in the regulation of S-SMase secretion, and they suggest distinct metabolic roles for S-SMase and L-SMase.
    Journal of Biological Chemistry 11/2010; 285(46):35706-18. · 4.65 Impact Factor
  • [Show abstract] [Hide abstract]
    ABSTRACT: Acid sphingomyelinase (A-SMase) is an important enzyme in sphingolipid metabolism and plays key roles in apoptosis, immunity, development, and cancer. In addition, it mediates cytotoxicity of cisplatin and some other chemotherapeutic drugs. The mechanism of A-SMase activation is still undefined. We now demonstrate that, upon CD95 stimulation, A-SMase is activated through translocation from intracellular compartments to the plasma membrane in an exocytic pathway requiring the t-SNARE protein syntaxin 4. Indeed, down-regulation of syntaxin 4 inhibits A-SMase translocation and activation induced by CD95 stimulation. This leads to inhibition of the CD95-triggered signaling events, including caspase 3 and 9 activation and apoptosis, activation of the survival pathway involving the protein kinase Akt, and important changes in cell cycle and proliferation. The molecular interaction between A-SMase and syntaxin 4 was not known and clarifies the mechanism of A-SMase activation. The novel actions of syntaxin 4 in sphingolipid metabolism and exocytosis we describe here define signaling mechanisms of broad relevance in cell pathophysiology.
    Journal of Biological Chemistry 10/2010; 285(51):40240-51. · 4.65 Impact Factor