Metabolism and biological functions of two phosphorylated sphingolipids, sphingosine 1-phosphate and ceramide 1-phosphate.Prog Lipid Res 2007; 46(2):126-44PL
Sphingolipids are major lipid constituents of the eukaryotic plasma membrane. Without certain sphingolipids, cells and/or embryos cannot survive, indicating that sphingolipids possess important physiological functions that are not substituted for by other lipids. One such role may be signaling. Recent studies have revealed that some sphingolipid metabolites, such as long-chain bases (LCBs; sphingosine (Sph) in mammals), long-chain base 1-phosphates (LCBPs; sphingosine 1-phosphate (S1P) in mammals), ceramide (Cer), and ceramide 1-phosphate (C1P), act as signaling molecules. The addition of phosphate groups to LCB/Sph and Cer generates LCBP/S1P and C1P, respectively. These phospholipids exhibit completely different functions than those of their precursors. In this review, we describe recent advances in understanding the functions of LCBP/S1P and C1P in mammals and in the yeast Saccharomyces cerevisiae. Since LCB/Sph, LCBP/S1P, Cer, and C1P are mutually convertible, regulation of not only the total amount of the each lipid but also of the overall balance in cellular levels is important. Therefore, we describe in detail their metabolic pathways, as well as the genes involved in each reaction.