Differential regulation of sphingosine kinases 1 and 2 in lung injury

Raj Wadgaonkar, Vipul Patel, Natalia Grinkina, Carol Romano, Jing Liu, Yutong Zhao, Saad Sammani, Joe G.N. Garcia, Viswanathan Natarajan

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

87 Scopus citations


Two mammalian sphingosine kinase (SphK) isoforms, SphK1 and SphK2, possess identical kinase domains but have distinct kinetic properties and subcellular localizations, suggesting each has one or more specific roles in sphingosine-1-phosphate (S1P) generation. Although both kinases use sphingosine as a substrate to generate S1P, the mechanisms controlling SphK activation and subsequent S1P generation during lung injury are not fully understood. In this study, we established a murine lung injury model to investigate LPS-induced lung injury in SphK1 knockout (SphK1-/-) and wild-type (WT) mice. We found that SphK1-/- mice were much more susceptible to LPS-induced lung injury compared with their WT counterparts, quantified by multiple parameters including cytokine induction. Intriguingly, overexpression of WT SphK1 delivered by adenoviral vector to the lungs protected SphK1-/- mice from lung injury and attenuated the severity of the response to LPS. However, adenoviral overexpression of a SphK1 kinase-dead mutant (SphKKD) in SphK1-/- mouse lungs further exacerbated the response to LPS as well as the extent of lung injury. WT SphK2 adenoviral overexpression also failed to provide protection and, in fact, augmented the degree of LPS-induced lung injury. This suggested that, in vascular injury, S1P generated by SphK2 activation plays a distinctly separate role compared with SphK1-dependent S1P generation and survival signaling. Microarray and real-time RT-PCR analysis of SphK1 and SphK2 expression levels during lung injury revealed that, in WT mice, LPS treatment caused significantly enhanced SphK1 expression (∼5X) levels within 6 h, which declined back to baseline levels by 24 h posttreatment. In contrast, expression of SphK2 was gradually induced following LPS treatment and was elevated within 24 h. Collectively, our results for the first time demonstrate distinct functional roles of the two SphK isoforms in the regulation of LPS-induced lung injury.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)L603-L613
JournalAmerican Journal of Physiology - Lung Cellular and Molecular Physiology
Issue number4
StatePublished - Apr 2009


  • Lipopolysaccharide
  • SphK1

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Physiology
  • Pulmonary and Respiratory Medicine
  • Physiology (medical)
  • Cell Biology


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