Review Article

Cell Biochemistry and Biophysics

, Volume 40, Issue 3, pp 323-350

First online:

Ceramide and other sphingolipids in cellular responses

  • Jun YangAffiliated withDepartment of Pathology and Pathophysiology, Zhejiang University School of MedicineDepartment of Public Health, Zhejiang University School of Medicine
  • , Yingnian YuAffiliated withDepartment of Pathology and Pathophysiology, Zhejiang University School of MedicineDepartment of Public Health, Zhejiang University School of Medicine
  • , Shuyu SunAffiliated withThe Affiliated Hospital, Shandong University
  • , Penelope J. Duerksen-HughesAffiliated withDepartment of Biochemistry and Microbiology, Center for Molecular Biology and Gene Therapy, Loma Linda University School of Medicine Email author 

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Abstract

Formerly considered to serve only as structural components, sphingolipids are emerging as an important group of signaling molecules involved in many cellular events, including cell growth, senescence, meiotic maturation, and cell death. They are also implicated in functions such as inflammation and the responses to heat shock and genotoxic stress. Defects in the metabolism of sphingolipids are related to various genetic disorders, and sphingolipids have the potential to serve as therapeutic agents for human diseases such as colon cancer and viral or bacterial infections. The best-studied member of this family, ceramide, which also serves as the structural back-bone for other sphingolipids, is an important mediator in multiple cellular signaling pathways. The metabolism and functions of sphingolipids are discussed in this review, with a focus on ceramide regulation in various cellular responses.

Index Entries

Sphingolipids ceramide stress response growth control apoptosis