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

Ceramide formation during heat shock: a potential mediator of alpha B-crystallin transcription.

Ceramide has been identified as a potential second messenger that may mediate cell differentiation and apoptosis after exposure to hormonal agonists such as 1 alpha, 25-dihydroxyvitamin D3, tumor necrosis factor alpha, or gamma-interferon. The secondary cellular events that follow ceramide generation remain undefined. We report that in NIH WT-3T3 cells, ceramide induces an enhancement of gene transcription of alpha B-crystallin, a small heat shock protein. The levels of alpha B-crystallin, as measured by Northern blot and immunoblot analyses, were increased by the addition of an exogenous short-chain ceramide, N-acetylsphingosine, or by increasing endogenous intracellular ceramide by inhibition of glucosylceramide synthase. Similar effects were not seen in the expression of the closely related gene, Hsp25. To ascertain whether ceramide-mediated gene transcription was a feature of the heat shock response, cell ceramide was measured in heat shocked cells and observed to be elevated 2-fold immediately upon the return of cells to 37 degrees C. Thus ceramide formed after heat shock treatment of 3T3 cells may mediate the transcription events associated with the cell stress response.[1]


  1. Ceramide formation during heat shock: a potential mediator of alpha B-crystallin transcription. Chang, Y., Abe, A., Shayman, J.A. Proc. Natl. Acad. Sci. U.S.A. (1995) [Pubmed]
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