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Hoffmann, R. A wiki for the life sciences where authorship matters. Nature Genetics (2008)

Extracellular export of sphingosine kinase-1a contributes to the vascular S1P gradient.

Sphingosine 1-phosphate ( S1P), produced by Sphks (sphingosine kinases), is a multifunctional lipid mediator that regulates immune cell trafficking and vascular development. Mammals maintain a large concentration gradient of S1P between vascular and extravascular compartments. Mechanisms by which S1P is released from cells and concentrated in the plasma are poorly understood. We recently demonstrated [Ancellin, Colmont, Su, Li, Mittereder, Chae, Stefansson, Liau and Hla (2002) J. Biol. Chem. 277, 6667-6675] that Sphk1 activity is constitutively secreted by vascular endothelial cells. In the present study, we show that among the five Sphk isoforms expressed in endothelial cells, the Sphk-1a isoform is selectively secreted in HEK-293 cells (human embryonic kidney cells) and human umbilical-vein endothelial cells. In sharp contrast, Sphk2 is not secreted. The exported Sphk-1a isoform is enzymatically active and produced sufficient S1P to induce S1P receptor internalization. Wild-type mouse plasma contains significant Sphk activity (179 pmol x min(-1) x g(-1)). In contrast, Sphk1-/- mouse plasma has undetectable Sphk activity and approx. 65% reduction in S1P levels. Moreover, human plasma contains enzymatically active Sphk1 (46 pmol x min(-1) x g(-1)). These results suggest that export of Sphk-1a occurs under physiological conditions and may contribute to the establishment of the vascular S1P gradient.[1]


  1. Extracellular export of sphingosine kinase-1a contributes to the vascular S1P gradient. Venkataraman, K., Thangada, S., Michaud, J., Oo, M.L., Ai, Y., Lee, Y.M., Wu, M., Parikh, N.S., Khan, F., Proia, R.L., Hla, T. Biochem. J. (2006) [Pubmed]
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