(Dihydro)ceramide synthase 1-regulated sensitivity to cisplatin is associated with the activation of p38 mitogen-activated protein kinase and is abrogated by sphingosine kinase 1

Junxia Min, Adi Mesika, Mayandi Sivaguru, Paul P. Van Veldhoven, Hannah Alexander, Anthony H. Futerman, Stephen Alexander

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle


Resistance to chemotherapeutic drugs often limits their clinical efficacy. Previous studies have implicated the bioactive sphingolipid sphingosine-1- phosphate (S-1-P) in regulating sensitivity to cisplatin [cis- diamminedichloroplatinum(II)] and showed that modulating the S-1-P lyase can alter cisplatin sensitivity. Here, we show that the members of the sphingosine kinase (SphK1 and SphK2) and dihydroceramide synthase (LASS1/CerS1, LASS4/CerS4, and LASS5/CerS5) enzyme families each have a unique role in regulating sensitivity to cisplatin and other drugs. Thus, expression of SphK1 decreases sensitivity to cisplatin, carboplatin, doxorubicin, and vincristine, whereas expression of SphK2 increases sensitivity. Expression of LASS1/CerS1 increases the sensitivity to all the drugs tested, whereas LASS5/CerS5 only increases sensitivity to doxorubicin and vincristine. LASS4/CerS4 expression has no effect on the sensitivity to any drug tested. Reflecting this, we show that the activation of the p38 mitogen-activated protein (MAP) kinase is increased only by LASS1/CerS1, and not by LASS4/CerS4 or LASS5/CerS5. Cisplatin was shown to cause a specific translocation of LASS1/CerS1, but not LASS4/CerS4 or LASS5/CerS5, from the endoplasmic reticulum (ER) to the Golgi apparatus. Supporting the hypothesis that this translocation is mechanistically involved in the response to cisplatin, we showed that expression of SphK1, but not SphK2, abrogates both the increased cisplatin sensitivity in cells stably expressing LASS1/CerS and the translocation of the LASS1/CerS1. The data suggest that the enzymes of the sphingolipid metabolic pathway can be manipulated to improve sensitivity to the widely used drug cisplatin.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)801-812
Number of pages12
JournalMolecular Cancer Research
Issue number8
StatePublished - Aug 27 2007


ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Molecular Biology
  • Oncology
  • Cancer Research

Cite this