The extended family of neutral sphingomyelinases

Christopher J. Clarke, Christopher F. Snook, Motohiro Tani, Nabil Matmati, Norma Marchesini, Yusuf A. Hannun

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Abstract

The neutral sphingomyelinases (N-SMases) are considered major candidates for mediating the stress-induced production of ceramide, and N-SMase activity has been identified, characterized, and cloned from bacteria, yeast, and mammalian cells. Although the level of identity between these enzymes is low, a number of key residues thought to be involved in metal binding and catalysis are conserved. This has led to the suggestion of a common catalytic mechanism, and thus, these enzymes are considered to form an extended family of N-SMases. Despite considerable research into N-SMase activity in cell culture and various tissues, the lack, until recently, of molecular identification of specific N-SMase enzymes had precluded specific insights into the regulation, physiological, and pathological roles of these proteins. In this review, we summarize, for the first time, current knowledge of the N-SMase family, focusing on cloned members from bacteria, yeast, and mammalian cells. We also briefly consider the major future directions for N-SMase research which promises highly significant and specific insight into sphingolipid-mediated functions.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)11247-11256
Number of pages10
JournalBiochemistry
Volume45
Issue number38
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Sep 26 2006
Externally publishedYes

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All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Biochemistry

Cite this

Clarke, C. J., Snook, C. F., Tani, M., Matmati, N., Marchesini, N., & Hannun, Y. A. (2006). The extended family of neutral sphingomyelinases. Biochemistry, 45(38), 11247-11256. https://doi.org/10.1021/bi061307z