Publications by authors named "Nicolas Coant"

24 Publications

  • Page 1 of 1

Asah2 Represses the p53-Hmox1 Axis to Protect Myeloid-Derived Suppressor Cells from Ferroptosis.

J Immunol 2021 Mar 5;206(6):1395-1404. Epub 2021 Feb 5.

Department of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology, Medical College of Georgia, Augusta, GA 30912;

Myeloid-derived suppressor cells (MDSCs) are immune suppressive cells that massively accumulate under pathological conditions to suppress T cell immune response. Dysregulated cell death contributes to MDSC accumulation, but the molecular mechanism underlying this cell death dysregulation is not fully understood. In this study, we report that neutral ceramidase (N-acylsphingosine amidohydrolase [ASAH2]) is highly expressed in tumor-infiltrating MDSCs in colon carcinoma and acts as an MDSC survival factor. To target ASAH2, we performed molecular docking based on human ASAH2 protein structure. Enzymatic inhibition analysis of identified hits determined NC06 as an ASAH2 inhibitor. Chemical and nuclear magnetic resonance analysis determined NC06 as 7-chloro-2-(3-chloroanilino)pyrano[3,4-e][1,3]oxazine-4,5-dione. NC06 inhibits ceramidase activity with an IC of 10.16-25.91 μM for human ASAH2 and 18.6-30.2 μM for mouse Asah2 proteins. NC06 induces MDSC death in a dose-dependent manner, and inhibition of ferroptosis decreased NC06-induced MDSC death. NC06 increases glutathione synthesis and decreases lipid reactive oxygen species to suppress ferroptosis in MDSCs. Gene expression profiling identified the p53 pathway as the Asah2 target in MDSCs. Inhibition of Asah2 increased p53 protein stability to upregulate Hmox1 expression to suppress lipid reactive oxygen species production to suppress ferroptosis in MDSCs. NC06 therapy increases MDSC death and reduces MDSC accumulation in tumor-bearing mice, resulting in increased activation of tumor-infiltrating CTLs and suppression of tumor growth in vivo. Our data indicate that ASAH2 protects MDSCs from ferroptosis through destabilizing p53 protein to suppress the p53 pathway in MDSCs in the tumor microenvironment. Targeting ASAH2 with NC06 to induce MDSC ferroptosis is potentially an effective therapy to suppress MDSC accumulation in cancer immunotherapy.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.4049/jimmunol.2000500DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7946776PMC
March 2021

Identification of Small-Molecule Inhibitors of Neutral Ceramidase (nCDase) via Target-Based High-Throughput Screening.

SLAS Discov 2021 Jan 31;26(1):113-121. Epub 2020 Jul 31.

Department of Molecular Medicine, Scripps Research, The Scripps Research Molecular Screening Center, Jupiter, FL, USA.

There is interest in developing inhibitors of human neutral ceramidase (nCDase) because this enzyme plays a critical role in colon cancer. There are currently no potent or clinically effective inhibitors for nCDase reported to date, so we adapted a fluorescence-based enzyme activity method to a high-throughput screening format. We opted to use an assay whereby nCDase hydrolyzes the substrate RBM 14-16, and the addition of NaIO4 acts as an oxidant that releases umbelliferone, resulting in a fluorescent signal. As designed, test compounds that act as ceramidase inhibitors will prevent the hydrolysis of RBM 14-16, thereby decreasing fluorescence. This assay uses a 1536-well plate format with excitation in the blue spectrum of light energy, which could be a liability, so we incorporated a counterscreen that allows for rapid selection against fluorescence artifacts to minimize false-positive hits. The high-throughput screen of >650,000 small molecules found several lead series of hits. Multiple rounds of chemical optimization ensued with improved potency in terms of IC and selectivity over counterscreen assays. This study describes the first large-scale high-throughput optical screening assay for nCDase inhibitors that has resulted in leads that are now being pursued in crystal docking studies and in vitro drug metabolism and pharmacokinetics (DMPK).
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1177/2472555220945283DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7749003PMC
January 2021

Neutral ceramidase: Advances in mechanisms, cell regulation, and roles in cancer.

Adv Biol Regul 2019 01 26;71:141-146. Epub 2018 Oct 26.

Health Science Center, Stony Brook University, 100 Nicolls Road, L4, 182, 11794, Stony Brook, NY, USA. Electronic address:

Extensive research conducted in the last three decades has identified the roles for the main bioactive sphingolipids, namely ceramide, sphingosine, and sphingosine 1-phosphate (S1P) as key regulators of cellular homeostasis, growth and death. One of the major groups of enzymes in the ceramide pathway, ceramidases, converts ceramide into sphingosine and fatty acids, with sphingosine being further metabolized to S1P. Thus, these enzymes play important roles in the network controlling the functions associated with these bioactive sphingolipids. Among the family of ceramidases, neutral ceramidase (nCDase), which is named according to its optimal pH for catalytic activity, has received increased attention in the last decade. The goal of this review is to provide a brief background on bioactive sphingolipids and the ceramidases. We then describe more recent advances on nCDase, specifically the resolution of its crystal structure and understanding its roles in cell biology and physiology.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.jbior.2018.10.005DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6347532PMC
January 2019

Functions of neutral ceramidase in the Golgi apparatus.

J Lipid Res 2018 11 28;59(11):2116-2125. Epub 2018 Aug 28.

Department of Medicine, Stony Brook University, Stony Brook, NY

Ceramidases hydrolyze ceramides into sphingosine and fatty acids, with sphingosine being further metabolized into sphingosine-1-phosphate (S1P); thus, ceramidases control the levels of these bioactive sphingolipids in cells and tissues. Neutral ceramidase (nCDase) is highly expressed in colorectal tissues, and a recent report showed that nCDase activity is involved in Wnt/β-catenin signaling. In addition, the inhibition of nCDase decreases the development and progression of colorectal tumor growth. Here, to determine the action of nCDase in colorectal cancer cells, we focused on the subcellular localization and metabolic functions of this enzyme in HCT116 cells. nCDase was found to be located in both the plasma membrane and in the Golgi apparatus, but it had minimal effects on basal levels of ceramide, sphingosine, or S1P. Cells overexpressing nCDase were protected from the cell death and Golgi fragmentation induced by C6-ceramide, and they showed reduced levels of C6-ceramide and higher levels of S1P and sphingosine. Furthermore, compartment-specific metabolic functions of the enzyme were probed using C6-ceramide and Golgi-targeted bacterial SMase (bSMase) and bacterial ceramidase (bCDase). The results showed that Golgi-specific bCDase also demonstrated resistance against the cell death stimulated by C6-ceramide, and it catalyzed the metabolism of ceramides and produced sphingosine in the Golgi. Targeting bSMase to the Golgi resulted in increased levels of ceramide that were attenuated by the expression of nCDase, also supporting its ability to metabolize Golgi-generated ceramide. These results are critical in understanding the functions of nCDase actions in colorectal cancer cells as well as the compartmentalized pathways of sphingolipid metabolism.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1194/jlr.M088187DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6210901PMC
November 2018

AKT as a key target for growth promoting functions of neutral ceramidase in colon cancer cells.

Oncogene 2018 07 17;37(28):3852-3863. Epub 2018 Apr 17.

Stony Brook Cancer Center, Stony Brook University, Stony Brook, NY, USA.

Despite advances in the field, colorectal cancer (CRC) remains a leading cause of cancer-related mortality worldwide. Research into bioactive sphingolipids over the past two decades has played an important role in increasing our understanding of the pathogenesis and therapeutics of CRC. In the complex metabolic network of sphingolipids, ceramidases (CDases) have a key function. These enzymes hydrolyze ceramides into sphingosine (SPH) which in turn is phosphorylated by sphingosine kinases (SK) 1 and 2 to generate sphingosine-1 phosphate (S1P). Importantly, we have recently shown that inhibition of neutral CDase (nCDase) induces an increase of ceramide in colon cancer cells which decreases cellular growth, increases apoptosis and modulates the WNT/β-catenin pathway. We have also shown that the deletion of nCDase protected mice from the onset and progression of colorectal cancer in the AOM carcinogen model. Here, we demonstrate that AKT is a key target for the growth suppressing functions of ceramide. The results show that inhibition of nCDase activates GSK3β through dephosphorylation, and thus is required for the subsequent phosphorylation and degradation of β-catenin. Our findings show that inhibition of nCDase also inhibits the basal activation status of AKT, and we further establish that a constitutively active AKT (AKT T308D, S473D; AKT) reverses the effect of nCDase on β-catenin degradation. Functionally, the AKT mutant is able to overcome the growth suppressive effects of nCDase inhibition in CRC cells. Moreover, nCDase inhibition induces a growth delay of xenograft tumors from control cells, whereas xenograft tumors from constitutively active AKT cells become resistant to nCDase inhibition. Taken together, these results provide important mechanistic insight into how nCDase regulates cell proliferation. These findings demonstrate a heretofore unappreciated, but critical, role for nCDase in enabling/maintaining basal activation of AKT and also suggest that nCDase is a suitable novel target for colon cancer therapy.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1038/s41388-018-0236-xDOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6041258PMC
July 2018

Loss of acid ceramidase in myeloid cells suppresses intestinal neutrophil recruitment.

FASEB J 2018 05 19;32(5):2339-2353. Epub 2017 Dec 19.

Department of Medicine, Stony Brook University, Stony Brook, New York, USA.

Bioactive sphingolipids are modulators of immune processes and their metabolism is often dysregulated in ulcerative colitis, a major category of inflammatory bowel disease (IBD). While multiple axes of sphingolipid metabolism have been investigated to delineate mechanisms regulating ulcerative colitis, the role of acid ceramidase (AC) in intestinal inflammation is yet to be characterized. Here we demonstrate that AC expression is elevated selectively in the inflammatory infiltrate in human and murine colitis. To probe for mechanistic insight into how AC up-regulation can impact intestinal inflammation, we investigated the selective loss of AC expression in the myeloid population. Using a model of intestinal epithelial injury, we demonstrate that myeloid AC conditional knockout mice exhibit impairment of neutrophil recruitment to the colon mucosa as a result of defective cytokine and chemokine production. Furthermore, the loss of myeloid AC protects from tumor incidence in colitis-associated cancer (CAC) and inhibits the expansion of neutrophils and granulocytic myeloid-derived suppressor cells in the tumor microenvironment. Collectively, our results demonstrate a tissue-specific role for AC in regulating neutrophilic inflammation and cytokine production. We demonstrate novel mechanisms of how granulocytes are recruited to the colon that may have therapeutic potential in intestinal inflammation, IBD, and CAC.-Espaillat, M. P., Snider, A. J., Qiu, Z., Channer, B., Coant, N., Schuchman, E. H., Kew, R. R., Sheridan, B. S., Hannun, Y. A., Obeid, L. M. Loss of acid ceramidase in myeloid cells suppresses intestinal neutrophil recruitment.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1096/fj.201700585RDOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6207279PMC
May 2018

Inhibition of central de novo ceramide synthesis restores insulin signaling in hypothalamus and enhances β-cell function of obese Zucker rats.

Mol Metab 2018 02 7;8:23-36. Epub 2017 Nov 7.

Sorbonne Paris Cité, Université Denis Diderot, Unité de Biologie Fonctionnelle et Adaptative, CNRS UMR 8251, Bâtiment Buffon, PO box 7126, 4, rue Marie-Andrée Lagroua Weill-Halle, 75205 Paris Cedex 13, France; Molecular Neuroendocrinology of Food intake, Neuroscience Paris-Saclay Institute (NeuroPSI), UMR 9197, Université Paris-Sud, France. Electronic address:

Objectives: Hypothalamic lipotoxicity has been shown to induce central insulin resistance and dysregulation of glucose homeostasis; nevertheless, elucidation of the regulatory mechanisms remains incomplete. Here, we aimed to determine the role of de novo ceramide synthesis in hypothalamus on the onset of central insulin resistance and the dysregulation of glucose homeostasis induced by obesity.

Methods: Hypothalamic GT1-7 neuronal cells were treated with palmitate. De novo ceramide synthesis was inhibited either by pharmacological (myriocin) or molecular (si-Serine Palmitoyl Transferase 2, siSPT2) approaches. Obese Zucker rats (OZR) were intracerebroventricularly infused with myriocin to inhibit de novo ceramide synthesis. Insulin resistance was determined by quantification of Akt phosphorylation. Ceramide levels were quantified either by a radioactive kinase assay or by mass spectrometry analysis. Glucose homeostasis were evaluated in myriocin-treated OZR. Basal and glucose-stimulated parasympathetic tonus was recorded in OZR. Insulin secretion from islets and β-cell mass was also determined.

Results: We show that palmitate impaired insulin signaling and increased ceramide levels in hypothalamic neuronal GT1-7 cells. In addition, the use of deuterated palmitic acid demonstrated that palmitate activated several enzymes of the de novo ceramide synthesis pathway in hypothalamic cells. Importantly, myriocin and siSPT2 treatment restored insulin signaling in palmitate-treated GT1-7 cells. Protein kinase C (PKC) inhibitor or a dominant-negative PKCζ also counteracted palmitate-induced insulin resistance. Interestingly, attenuating the increase in levels of hypothalamic ceramides with intracerebroventricular infusion of myriocin in OZR improved their hypothalamic insulin-sensitivity. Importantly, central myriocin treatment partially restored glucose tolerance in OZR. This latter effect is related to the restoration of glucose-stimulated insulin secretion and an increase in β-cell mass of OZR. Electrophysiological recordings also showed an improvement of glucose-stimulated parasympathetic nerve activity in OZR centrally treated with myriocin.

Conclusion: Our results highlight a key role of hypothalamic de novo ceramide synthesis in central insulin resistance installation and glucose homeostasis dysregulation associated with obesity.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.molmet.2017.10.013DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5985020PMC
February 2018

Novel sphingosine kinase-1 inhibitor, LCL351, reduces immune responses in murine DSS-induced colitis.

Prostaglandins Other Lipid Mediat 2017 05 2;130:47-56. Epub 2017 Apr 2.

Department of Medicine and the, Stony Brook Cancer Center, Stony Brook University, Stony Brook, NY, USA; Northport Veterans Affairs Medical Center, Northport, NY, USA. Electronic address:

Sphingosine-1-phosphate (S1P) is a biologically active sphingolipid metabolite which has been implicated in many diseases including cancer and inflammatory diseases. Recently, sphingosine kinase 1 (SK1), one of the isozymes which generates S1P, has been implicated in the development and progression of inflammatory bowel disease (IBD). Based on our previous work, we set out to determine the efficacy of a novel SK1 selective inhibitor, LCL351, in a murine model of IBD. LCL351 selectively inhibits SK1 both in vitro and in cells. LCL351, which accumulates in relevant tissues such as colon, did not have any adverse side effects in vivo. In mice challenged with dextran sodium sulfate (DSS), a murine model for IBD, LCL351 treatment protected from blood loss and splenomegaly. Additionally, LCL351 treatment reduced the expression of pro-inflammatory markers, and reduced neutrophil infiltration in colon tissue. Our results suggest inflammation associated with IBD can be targeted pharmacologically through the inhibition and degradation of SK1. Furthermore, our data also identifies desirable properties of SK1 inhibitors.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.prostaglandins.2017.03.006DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5509055PMC
May 2017

Tricyclic Antidepressants Promote Ceramide Accumulation to Regulate Collagen Production in Human Hepatic Stellate Cells.

Sci Rep 2017 03 21;7:44867. Epub 2017 Mar 21.

Gastrointestinal Unit, Massachusetts General Hospital, Harvard Medical School, Boston, MA USA.

Activation of hepatic stellate cells (HSCs) in response to injury is a key step in hepatic fibrosis, and is characterized by trans-differentiation of quiescent HSCs to HSC myofibroblasts, which secrete extracellular matrix proteins responsible for the fibrotic scar. There are currently no therapies to directly inhibit hepatic fibrosis. We developed a small molecule screen to identify compounds that inactivate human HSC myofibroblasts through the quantification of lipid droplets. We screened 1600 compounds and identified 21 small molecules that induce HSC inactivation. Four hits were tricyclic antidepressants (TCAs), and they repressed expression of pro-fibrotic factors Alpha-Actin-2 (ACTA2) and Alpha-1 Type I Collagen (COL1A1) in HSCs. RNA sequencing implicated the sphingolipid pathway as a target of the TCAs. Indeed, TCA treatment of HSCs promoted accumulation of ceramide through inhibition of acid ceramidase (aCDase). Depletion of aCDase also promoted accumulation of ceramide and was associated with reduced COL1A1 expression. Treatment with B13, an inhibitor of aCDase, reproduced the antifibrotic phenotype as did the addition of exogenous ceramide. Our results show that detection of lipid droplets provides a robust readout to screen for regulators of hepatic fibrosis and have identified a novel antifibrotic role for ceramide.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1038/srep44867DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5359599PMC
March 2017

Ceramidases, roles in sphingolipid metabolism and in health and disease.

Adv Biol Regul 2017 Jan 11;63:122-131. Epub 2016 Oct 11.

Health Science Center, Stony Brook University, 100 Nicolls Road, L4, 182, 11794, Stony Brook, NY, USA. Electronic address:

Over the past three decades, extensive research has been able to determine the biologic functions for the main bioactive sphingolipids, namely ceramide, sphingosine, and sphingosine 1-phosphate (S1P) (Hannun, 1996; Hannun et al., 1986; Okazaki et al., 1989). These studies have managed to define the metabolism, regulation, and function of these bioactive sphingolipids. This emerging body of literature has also implicated bioactive sphingolipids, particularly S1P and ceramide, as key regulators of cellular homeostasis. Ceramidases have the important role of cleaving fatty acid from ceramide and producing sphingosine, thereby controlling the interconversion of these two lipids. Thus far, five human ceramidases encoded by five different genes have been identified: acid ceramidase (AC), neutral ceramidase (NC), alkaline ceramidase 1 (ACER1), alkaline ceramidase 2 (ACER2), and alkaline ceramidase 3 (ACER3). These ceramidases are classified according to their optimal pH for catalytic activity. AC, which is localized to the lysosomal compartment, has been associated with Farber's disease and is involved in the regulation of cell viability. Neutral ceramidase, which is localized to the plasma membrane and primarily expressed in the small intestine and colon, is involved in digestion, and has been implicated in colon carcinogenesis. ACER1 which can be found in the endoplasmic reticulum and is highly expressed in the skin, plays an important role in keratinocyte differentiation. ACER2, localized to the Golgi complex and highly expressed in the placenta, is involved in programed cell death in response to DNA damage. ACER3, also localized to the endoplasmic reticulum and the Golgi complex, is ubiquitously expressed, and is involved in motor coordination-associated Purkinje cell degeneration. This review seeks to consolidate the current knowledge regarding these key cellular players.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.jbior.2016.10.002DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5330250PMC
January 2017

Role of neutral ceramidase in colon cancer.

FASEB J 2016 12 8;30(12):4159-4171. Epub 2016 Sep 8.

Department of Medicine, Stony Brook University, New York, USA;

Alterations in sphingolipid metabolism, especially ceramide and sphingosine 1-phosphate, have been linked to colon cancer, suggesting that enzymes of sphingolipid metabolism may emerge as novel regulators and targets in colon cancer. Neutral ceramidase (nCDase), a key enzyme in sphingolipid metabolism that hydrolyzes ceramide into sphingosine, is highly expressed in the intestine; however, its role in colon cancer has not been defined. Here we show that molecular and pharmacological inhibition of nCDase in colon cancer cells increases ceramide, and this is accompanied by decreased cell survival and increased apoptosis and autophagy, with minimal effects on noncancerous cells. Inhibition of nCDase resulted in loss of β-catenin and inhibition of ERK, components of pathways relevant for colon cancer development. Furthermore, inhibition of nCDase in a xenograft model delayed tumor growth and increased ceramide while decreasing proliferation. It is noteworthy that mice lacking nCDase treated with azoxymethane were protected from tumor formation. Taken together, these studies show that nCDase is pivotal for regulating initiation and development of colon cancer, and these data suggest that this enzyme is a suitable and novel target for colon cancer therapy.-García-Barros, M., Coant, N., Kawamori, T., Wada, M., Snider, A. J., Truman, J.-P., Wu, B. X., Furuya, H., Clarke, C. J., Bialkowska, A. B., Ghaleb, A., Yang, V. W., Obeid, L. M., Hannun, Y. A. Role of neutral ceramidase in colon cancer.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1096/fj.201600611RDOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5102116PMC
December 2016

Distinct roles for hematopoietic and extra-hematopoietic sphingosine kinase-1 in inflammatory bowel disease.

PLoS One 2014 2;9(12):e113998. Epub 2014 Dec 2.

Northport Veterans Affairs Medical Center, Northport, New York, United States of America; Department of Medicine, Stony Brook University, Stony Brook, New York, United States of America; Stony Brook Cancer Center, Stony Brook University, Stony Brook, New York, United States of America.

Sphingosine kinase 1 (SK1), one of two SK enzymes, is highly regulated and has been shown to act as a focal point for the action of many growth factors and cytokines. SK1 leads to generation of sphingosine-1-phosphate (S1P) and potentially the activation of S1P receptors to mediate biologic effects. Our previous studies implicated SK1/S1P in the regulation of inflammatory processes, specifically in inflammatory bowel disease (IBD). These studies were conducted using a total body knockout mouse for SK1 and were unable to determine the source of SK1/S1P (hematopoietic or extra-hematopoietic) involved in the inflammatory responses. Therefore, bone marrow transplants were performed with wild-type (WT) and SK1-/- mice and colitis induced with dextran sulfate sodium (DSS). Irrespective of the source of SK1/S1P, bone marrow or tissue, DSS induced colitis in all mice; however, mice lacking SK1 in both hematopoietic and extra-hematopoietic compartments exhibited decreased crypt damage. Systemic inflammation was assessed, and mice with WT bone marrow demonstrated significant neutrophilia in response to DSS. In the local inflammatory response, mice lacking SK1/S1P in either bone marrow or tissue exhibited decreased induction of cytokines and less activation of STAT3 (signal transducer and activator of transcription 3). Interestingly, we determined that extra-hematopoietic SK1 is necessary for the induction of cyclooxygenase 2 (COX2) in colon epithelium in response to DSS-induced colitis. Taken together our data suggest that hematopoietic-derived SK1/S1P regulates specific aspects of the systemic inflammatory response, while extra-hematopoietic SK1 in the colon epithelium is necessary for the autocrine induction of COX2 in DSS-induced colitis.
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http://journals.plos.org/plosone/article?id=10.1371/journal.pone.0113998PLOS
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4252067PMC
August 2015

Glucolipotoxicity impairs ceramide flow from the endoplasmic reticulum to the Golgi apparatus in INS-1 β-cells.

PLoS One 2014 28;9(10):e110875. Epub 2014 Oct 28.

Department of Medical Biotechnology and Translational Medicine, Università di Milano, LITA Segrate, Milano, Italy.

Accumulating evidence suggests that glucolipotoxicity, arising from the combined actions of elevated glucose and free fatty acid levels, acts as a key pathogenic component in type II diabetes, contributing to β-cell dysfunction and death. Endoplasmic reticulum (ER) stress is among the molecular pathways and regulators involved in these negative effects, and ceramide accumulation due to glucolipotoxicity can be associated with the induction of ER stress. Increased levels of ceramide in ER may be due to enhanced ceramide biosynthesis and/or decreased ceramide utilization. Here, we studied the effect of glucolipotoxic conditions on ceramide traffic in INS-1 cells in order to gain insights into the molecular mechanism(s) of glucolipotoxicity. We showed that glucolipotoxicity inhibited ceramide utilization for complex sphingolipid biosynthesis, thereby reducing the flow of ceramide from the ER to Golgi. Glucolipotoxicity impaired both vesicular- and CERT-mediated ceramide transport through (1) the decreasing of phospho-Akt levels which in turn possibly inhibits vesicular traffic, and (2) the reducing of the amount of active CERT mainly due to a lower protein levels and increased protein phosphorylation to prevent its localization to the Golgi. In conclusion, our findings provide evidence that glucolipotoxicity-induced ceramide overload in the ER, arising from a defect in ceramide trafficking may be a mechanism that contributes to dysfunction and/or death of β-cells exposed to glucolipotoxicity.
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http://journals.plos.org/plosone/article?id=10.1371/journal.pone.0110875PLOS
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4211692PMC
January 2016

Hippocampal lipoprotein lipase regulates energy balance in rodents.

Mol Metab 2014 Apr 20;3(2):167-76. Epub 2013 Nov 20.

Université Paris Diderot, Sorbonne Paris Cité, BFA, EAC 4413 CNRS, Case courrier 7126, 4, rue Marie Andrée Lagroua Weill-Hallé, F-75205 Paris Cedex 13, France.

Brain lipid sensing is necessary to regulate energy balance. Lipoprotein lipase (LPL) may play a role in this process. We tested if hippocampal LPL regulated energy homeostasis in rodents by specifically attenuating LPL activity in the hippocampus of rats and mice, either by infusing a pharmacological inhibitor (tyloxapol), or using a genetic approach (adeno-associated virus expressing Cre-GFP injected into Lpl (lox/lox) mice). Decreased LPL activity by either method led to increased body weight gain due to decreased locomotor activity and energy expenditure, concomitant with increased parasympathetic tone (unchanged food intake). Decreased LPL activity in both models was associated with increased de novo ceramide synthesis and neurogenesis in the hippocampus, while intrahippocampal infusion of de novo ceramide synthesis inhibitor myriocin completely prevented body weight gain. We conclude that hippocampal lipid sensing might represent a core mechanism for energy homeostasis regulation through de novo ceramide synthesis.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.molmet.2013.11.002DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3953702PMC
April 2014

Sphingolipids in colon cancer.

Biochim Biophys Acta 2014 May 21;1841(5):773-82. Epub 2013 Sep 21.

Department of Medicine and the Stony Brook Cancer Center, Health Science Center, Stony Brook University, 101 Nicolls Road, T15, 023, 11794, Stony Brook, NY, USA. Electronic address:

Colorectal cancer is one of the major causes of death in the western world. Despite increasing knowledge of the molecular signaling pathways implicated in colon cancer, therapeutic outcomes are still only moderately successful. Sphingolipids, a family of N-acyl linked lipids, have not only structural functions but are also implicated in important biological functions. Ceramide, sphingosine and sphingosine-1-phosphate are the most important bioactive lipids, and they regulate several key cellular functions. Accumulating evidence suggests that many cancers present alterations in sphingolipids and their metabolizing enzymes. The aim of this review is to discuss the emerging roles of sphingolipids, both endogenous and dietary, in colon cancer and the interaction of sphingolipids with WNT/β-catenin pathway, one of the most important signaling cascades that regulate development and homeostasis in intestine. This article is part of a Special Issue entitled New Frontiers in Sphingolipid Biology.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.bbalip.2013.09.007DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3962523PMC
May 2014

Targeting lipid sensing in the central nervous system: new therapy against the development of obesity and type 2 diabetes.

Expert Opin Ther Targets 2013 May 4;17(5):545-55. Epub 2013 Feb 4.

Unité Biologie Fonctionnelle et Adaptative - EAC CNRS 4413, Équipe Homéostasie Energétique et RéGulation nerveuse et Endocrine (HERGE), Université PARIS DIDEROT (7) , Bâtiment BUFFON - 5ème étage - pièce 504A, 4, rue Marie-Andrée Lagroua Weill-Halle, 75205 Paris Cedex 13 , France.

Introduction: The hypothalamus plays a major role in the control of energy balance, by sensing circulating lipids. Several studies conducted over the past decade suggest that disruption of lipid sensing can lead to hypothalamic lipotoxicity, thereby contributing to the development of various diseases, such as obesity and type 2 diabetes.

Areas Covered: The physiological role of 'lipid sensing' as a regulator of neuronal activity involved in the regulation of energy homeostasis will be reviewed. Next, the emerging evidence that alterations of hypothalamic systems that regulate energy balance during overnutrition can lead to the development of obesity and associated pathologies such as type 2 diabetes will be described.

Expert Opinion: Several studies have highlighted the role of malonyl-CoA and PKCθ and also autophagy within the hypothalamus as signals of nutrient abundance by critical neurons regulating food intake. Besides the physiological role of hypothalamic lipid sensing, it has been shown that overnutrition can also induce hypothalamic lipotoxicity through an inflammatory process. In conclusion, lipid toxicity could be the starting point of perturbations of the central control of energy balance which will favor the appearance of obesity and type 2 diabetes. Lipid sensing in the hypothalamus could be considered as a potential target for anti-obesity/diabetic strategies.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1517/14728222.2013.768233DOI Listing
May 2013

Role of palmitate-induced sphingoid base-1-phosphate biosynthesis in INS-1 β-cell survival.

Biochim Biophys Acta 2013 Feb 17;1831(2):251-62. Epub 2012 Oct 17.

Université Paris Diderot, Sorbonne Paris Cité, Laboratoire de Biologie et Pathologie du Pancréas Endocrine, Unité BFA, CNRS EAC 4413, Paris, France.

Sphingoid base-1-phosphates represent a very low portion of the sphingolipid pool but are potent bioactive lipids in mammals. This study was undertaken to determine whether these lipids are produced in palmitate-treated pancreatic β cells and what role they play in palmitate-induced β cell apoptosis. Our lipidomic analysis revealed that palmitate at low and high glucose supplementation increased (dihydro)sphingosine-1-phosphate levels in INS-1 β cells. This increase was associated with an increase in sphingosine kinase 1 (SphK1) mRNA and protein levels. Over-expression of SphK1 in INS-1 cells potentiated palmitate-induced accumulation of dihydrosphingosine-1-phosphate. N,N-dimethyl-sphingosine, a potent inhibitor of SphK, potentiated β-cell apoptosis induced by palmitate whereas over-expression of SphK1 significantly reduced apoptosis induced by palmitate with high glucose. Endoplasmic reticulum (ER)-targeted SphK1 also partially inhibited apoptosis induced by palmitate. Inhibition of INS-1 apoptosis by over-expressed SphK1 was independent of sphingosine-1-phosphate receptors but was associated with a decreased formation of pro-apoptotic ceramides induced by gluco-lipotoxicity. Moreover, over-expression of SphK1 counteracted the defect in the ER-to-Golgi transport of proteins that contribute to the ceramide-dependent ER stress observed during gluco-lipotoxicity. In conclusion, our results suggest that activation of palmitate-induced SphK1-mediated sphingoid base-1-phosphate formation in the ER of β cells plays a protective role against palmitate-induced ceramide-dependent apoptotic β cell death.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.bbalip.2012.10.003DOI Listing
February 2013

Ceramide synthase 4 and de novo production of ceramides with specific N-acyl chain lengths are involved in glucolipotoxicity-induced apoptosis of INS-1 β-cells.

Biochem J 2011 Aug;438(1):177-89

Université Paris Diderot, Sorbonne Paris Cité, Laboratoire de Biologie et Pathologie du Pancréas Endocrine, Unité BFA, CNRS EAC 4413, Paris, France.

Pancreatic β-cell apoptosis induced by palmitate requires high glucose concentrations. Ceramides have been suggested to be important mediators of glucolipotoxicity-induced β-cell apoptosis. In INS-1 β-cells, 0.4 mM palmitate with 5 mM glucose increased the levels of dihydrosphingosine and dihydroceramides, two lipid intermediates in the de novo biosynthesis of ceramides, without inducing apoptosis. Increasing glucose concentrations to 30 mM amplified palmitate-induced accumulation of dihydrosphingosine and the formation of (dihydro)ceramides. Of note, glucolipotoxicity specifically induced the formation of C(18:0), C(22:0) and C(24:1) (dihydro)ceramide molecular species, which was associated with the up-regulation of CerS4 (ceramide synthase 4) levels. Fumonisin-B1, a ceramide synthase inhibitor, partially blocked apoptosis induced by glucolipotoxicity. In contrast, apoptosis was potentiated in the presence of D,L-threo-1-phenyl-2-palmitoylamino-3-morpholinopropan-1-ol, an inhibitor of glucosylceramide synthase. Moreover, overexpression of CerS4 amplified ceramide production and apoptosis induced by palmitate with 30 mM glucose, whereas down-regulation of CerS4 by siRNA (short interfering RNA) reduced apoptosis. CerS4 also potentiates ceramide accumulation and apoptosis induced by another saturated fatty acid: stearate. Collectively, our results suggest that glucolipotoxicity induces β-cell apoptosis through a dual mechanism involving de novo ceramide biosynthesis and the formation of ceramides with specific N-acyl chain lengths rather than an overall increase in ceramide content.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1042/BJ20101386DOI Listing
August 2011

Glycogen synthase kinase 3 involvement in the excessive proinflammatory response to LPS in patients with decompensated cirrhosis.

J Hepatol 2011 Oct 18;55(4):784-93. Epub 2011 Feb 18.

INSERM, U773, Centre de Recherche Biomédicale Bichat-Beaujon CRB3, Paris and Clichy, France.

Background & Aims: In decompensated cirrhosis, the early innate immune response to the Toll-like receptor 4 (TLR4) agonist, lipopolysaccharides (LPS), is characterized by a hyper-production of pro-inflammatory cytokines and hypo-production of the anti-inflammatory cytokine IL-10. In LPS-stimulated non-cirrhotic immune cells, the constitutively active glycogen synthase kinase (GSK) 3 favors pro- vs. anti-inflammatory cytokines, by acting on gene induction. However, in these cells, TLR4 dampens its own pro-inflammatory response by inducing early (within minutes) AKT-mediated phosphorylation of GSK3β (one of two GSK3 isoforms) on Ser9. Phosphorylation of GSK3β (Ser9) inhibits its activity, decreases pro-inflammatory cytokines, and increases IL-10. Thus, we investigated the role of GSK3 in LPS-induced cytokine production by peripheral blood mononuclear cells (PBMCs) or monocytes from patients with advanced cirrhosis and normal subjects.

Methods: Cells were pre-incubated with or without GSK3 inhibitor (SB216763 or lithium chloride) for 1h and then stimulated with LPS. Cytokine production was assessed at mRNA and secreted proteins levels, by real-time RT-PCR at 1h and ELISA at 20 h, respectively. GSK3β phosphorylation was assessed using Western blotting.

Results: In cirrhotic and normal PBMCs pretreated with GSK3 inhibitors, LPS-induced production of pro-inflammatory proteins TNF-α and IL-12p40 was significantly decreased while that of IL-10 was increased. LPS-induced, AKT-mediated phosphorylation of GSK3β on Ser9 found in normal monocytes, was abolished in cirrhotic cells.

Conclusions: GSK3 is involved in the early TLR4-mediated pro-inflammatory response in patients with decompensated cirrhosis. This was associated with a defect in AKT-mediated GSK3β phosphorylation resulting in unrestricted 'pro-inflammatory' activity of the enzyme.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.jhep.2010.12.039DOI Listing
October 2011

NADPH oxidase 1 modulates WNT and NOTCH1 signaling to control the fate of proliferative progenitor cells in the colon.

Mol Cell Biol 2010 Jun 29;30(11):2636-50. Epub 2010 Mar 29.

INSERM, U773, Centre de Recherche Bichat Beaujon, CRB3, BP 416, 16 rue Henri Huchard, Paris 75018, France.

The homeostatic self-renewal of the colonic epithelium requires coordinated regulation of the canonical Wnt/beta-catenin and Notch signaling pathways to control proliferation and lineage commitment of multipotent stem cells. However, the molecular mechanisms by which the Wnt/beta-catenin and Notch1 pathways interplay in controlling cell proliferation and fate in the colon are poorly understood. Here we show that NADPH oxidase 1 (NOX1), a reactive oxygen species (ROS)-producing oxidase that is highly expressed in colonic epithelial cells, is a pivotal determinant of cell proliferation and fate that integrates Wnt/beta-catenin and Notch1 signals. NOX1-deficient mice reveal a massive conversion of progenitor cells into postmitotic goblet cells at the cost of colonocytes due to the concerted repression of phosphatidylinositol 3-kinase (PI3K)/AKT/Wnt/beta-catenin and Notch1 signaling. This conversion correlates with the following: (i) the redox-dependent activation of the dual phosphatase PTEN, causing the inactivation of the Wnt pathway effector beta-catenin, and (ii) the downregulation of Notch1 signaling that provokes derepression of mouse atonal homolog 1 (Math1) expression. We conclude that NOX1 controls the balance between goblet and absorptive cell types in the colon by coordinately modulating PI3K/AKT/Wnt/beta-catenin and Notch1 signaling. This finding provides the molecular basis for the role of NOX1 in cell proliferation and postmitotic differentiation.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1128/MCB.01194-09DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2876517PMC
June 2010

Ex vivo effects of high-density lipoprotein exposure on the lipopolysaccharide-induced inflammatory response in patients with severe cirrhosis.

Hepatology 2009 Jan;49(1):175-84

INSERM, U773, Centre de Recherche Biomédicale Bichat-Beaujon CRB3, Hôpital Beaujon, Clichy, France.

Unlabelled: High-density lipoproteins (HDL) are known to neutralize lipopolysaccharide (LPS). Because patients with cirrhosis have lower HDL levels, this may contribute to LPS-induced ex vivo monocyte overproduction of proinflammatory cytokines. However, the effects of HDL on cytokine production by monocytes from patients with cirrhosis have never been studied. The aim of this study was to determine the effects of HDL on LPS-induced proinflammatory cytokine production in whole blood and isolated monocytes from patients with severe cirrhosis and controls. Plasma levels of HDL and cytokines were determined. The effects of reconstituted HDL (rHDL) on LPS-induced cytokine production in whole blood were assessed by cytokine array and on tumor necrosis factor alpha (TNF-alpha) and interleukin-10 (IL-10) production in isolated monocytes. Plasma HDL levels were significantly lower in patients with cirrhosis than in controls. Plasma levels of TNF-alpha and IL-6 were significantly higher in patients with cirrhosis than in controls. Incubation of rHDL with whole blood prevented LPS-induced TNF-alpha and IL-6 overproduction in patients with cirrhosis. LPS-induced TNF-alpha production and CD14 expression were significantly more marked in cirrhotic monocytes than in control monocytes, and both decreased significantly after rHDL incubation. LPS-induced down-regulation of scavenger receptor, class B, type I (SR-BI) expression was abolished in cirrhotic monocytes.

Conclusions: This study shows that rHDL abolishes the LPS-induced overproduction of proinflammatory cytokines in whole blood from patients with severe cirrhosis. These results were confirmed in isolated monocytes from these patients. This suggests that administration of rHDL might be a useful strategy for the treatment of cirrhosis to limit LPS-induced cytokine overproduction.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1002/hep.22582DOI Listing
January 2009

Epigenetic modifications and chromatin loop organization explain the different expression profiles of the Tbrg4, WAP and Ramp3 genes.

Exp Cell Res 2008 Mar 12;314(5):975-87. Epub 2008 Jan 12.

UR1196, Unité de Génomique et Physiologie de la Lactation, INRA, Jouy en Josas, France.

Whey Acidic Protein (WAP) gene expression is specific to the mammary gland and regulated by lactogenic hormones to peak during lactation. It differs markedly from the more constitutive expression of the two flanking genes, Ramp3 and Tbrg4. Our results show that the tight regulation of WAP gene expression parallels variations in the chromatin structure and DNA methylation profile throughout the Ramp3-WAP-Tbrg4 locus. Three Matrix Attachment Regions (MAR) have been predicted in this locus. Two of them are located between regions exhibiting open and closed chromatin structures in the liver. The third, located around the transcription start site of the Tbrg4 gene, interacts with topoisomerase II in HC11 mouse mammary cells, and in these cells anchors the chromatin loop to the nuclear matrix. Furthermore, if lactogenic hormones are present in these cells, the chromatin loop surrounding the WAP gene is more tightly attached to the nuclear structure, as observed after a high salt treatment of the nuclei and the formation of nuclear halos. Taken together, our results point to a combination of several epigenetic events that may explain the differential expression pattern of the WAP locus in relation to tissue and developmental stages.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.yexcr.2008.01.001DOI Listing
March 2008

[Nuclear organization and expression of milk protein genes].

J Soc Biol 2006 ;200(2):181-92

Unité Génomique et Physiologie de la Lactation, Institut National de la Recherche Agronomique, Domaine de Vilvert, 78352 Jouy-en-Josas Cedex, France.

Milk protein gene expression varies during the pregnancy/lactation cycle under the influence of lactogenic hormones which induce the activation of several transcription factors. Beyond this activation modifying the binding properties of these factors to their consensus sequences, their interactions with DNA is regulated by variations of the chromatin structure. In the nuclei of the mammary epithelial cell, the three dimensional organisation of the chromatin loops, located between matrix attachment regions, is now being studied. The main milk components are organised in supramolecular structures. Milk fat globules are made of a triglyceride core enwrapped by a tripartite membrane originating from various intracellular compartments. The caseins, the main milk proteins, form aggregates: the casein micelles. Their gradual aggregation in the secretory pathway is initiated as soon as from the endoplasmic reticulum. The mesostructures of the milk fat globule and of the casein micelle remain to be elucidated. Our goal is to make some progress into the understanding of the molecular and cellular mechanisms involved in the formation of these milk products.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1051/jbio:2006020DOI Listing
April 2007

[The Nox/Duox family of ROS-generating NADPH oxidases].

Med Sci (Paris) 2006 Nov;22(11):953-9

Inserm U773, Centre de Recherche Bichat Beaujon CRB3, Université Paris 7 Denis Diderot, BP416, 46, Rue Henri Huchard, 75018 Paris, France.

Reactive oxygen species (ROS) generated by the NADPH oxidases are conventionally thought to be cytotoxic and mutagenic and at high levels induce an oxidative stress response. The phagocyte NADPH oxidase catalyzes the NADPH-dependent reduction of molecular oxygen to generate superoxide O2-., which can dismute to generate ROS species. Together, these ROS participate in host defence by killing or damaging invading microbes. Flavocytochrome b558 is the catalytic core of the phagocyte NADPH oxidase and consists of a large glycoprotein gp91phox or Nox-2 and a small protein p22phox. The other components of the NADPH oxidase are cytosolic proteins, namely p67phox, p47phox, p40phox and Rac. A defect in any of the genes encoding gp91phox, p22phox, p67phox or p47phox results in chronic granulomatous disease, a genetic disorder characterized by severe and recurrent infections. Evidence is rapidly accumulating that low level of ROS were produced by NADPH oxidase homologs in non-phagocytic cells. To date, six human homologs (Nox-1, Nox-3, Nox-4, Nox-5, Duox-1 and Duox-2) have been recently identified in a variety of non-phagocytic cells. The identification of Nox-1 was quickly followed by the cloning of Nox-3, Nox-4, and Nox-5. In parallel, two very large members of the Nox family were discovered, namely Duox-1 and Duox-2, initially also referred to as thyroid oxidases. The physiological functions of Nox-dependent ROS generation are in progress and still require detailed characterization. Activation mechanisms and tissue distribution of the different members of the Nox family are very different, suggesting distinct physiological functions. Nox family enzymes are likely to be involved in a variety of physiological events including cell proliferation, host defence, differentiation, apoptosis, senescence and activation of growth-related signaling pathways. An increase and a decrease in the function of Nox enzymes can contribute to a wide range of pathological processes.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1051/medsci/20062211953DOI Listing
November 2006