S1P lyase regulates DNA damage responses through a novel sphingolipid feedback mechanism.Cell Death Dis 2011; 2:e119CD
The injurious consequences of ionizing radiation (IR) to normal human cells and the acquired radioresistance of cancer cells represent limitations to cancer radiotherapy. IR induces DNA damage response pathways that orchestrate cell cycle arrest, DNA repair or apoptosis such that irradiated cells are either repaired or eliminated. Concomitantly and independent of DNA damage, IR activates acid sphingomyelinase (ASMase), which generates ceramide, thereby promoting radiation-induced apoptosis. However, ceramide can also be metabolized to sphingosine-1-phosphate (S1P), which acts paradoxically as a radioprotectant. Thus, sphingolipid metabolism represents a radiosensitivity pivot point, a notion supported by genetic evidence in IR-resistant cancer cells. S1P lyase (SPL) catalyzes the irreversible degradation of S1P in the final step of sphingolipid metabolism. We show that SPL modulates the kinetics of DNA repair, speed of recovery from G2 cell cycle arrest and the extent of apoptosis after IR. SPL acts through a novel feedback mechanism that amplifies stress-induced ceramide accumulation, and downregulation/inhibition of either SPL or ASMase prevents premature cell cycle progression and mitotic death. Further, oral administration of an SPL inhibitor to mice prolonged their survival after exposure to a lethal dose of total body IR. Our findings reveal SPL to be a regulator of ASMase, the G2 checkpoint and DNA repair and a novel target for radioprotection.