Acid sphingomyelinase (ASM) hydrolyzes sphingomyelin to produce the biologically active lipid ceramide. Previous studies have implicated ASM in the induction of the chemokine CCL5 in response to TNF-α; however, the lipid mediator of this effect was not established. In the present study, we identified a novel pathway connecting ASM and ceramide kinase (CERK). The results show that TNF-α induces the formation of ceramide 1-phosphate (C-1-P) in a CERK-dependent manner. Silencing of CERK blocks CCL5 production in response to TNF-α. Interestingly, cells lacking ASM have decreased C-1-P production following TNF-α treatment, suggesting that ASM may be acting upstream of CERK. Functionally, ASM and CERK induce a highly concordant program of cytokine production and both are required for migration of breast cancer cells. Taken together, these data suggest ASM can produce ceramide which is then converted to C-1-P by CERK, and that C-1-P is required for production of CCL5 and several cytokines and chemokines, with roles in cell migration. These results highlight the diversity in action of ASM through more than one bioactive sphingo-lipid.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Cell Biology