Compartmentalization of TNF-Receptor 1 Signaling: TNF-R1-Associated Caspase-8 Mediates Activation of Acid Sphingomyelinase in Late Endosomes

  • Uwe Bertsch
  • Bärbel Edelmann
  • Vladimir Tchikov
  • Supandi Winoto-Morbach
  • Stefan Schütze
Conference paper
Part of the Advances in Experimental Medicine and Biology book series (AEMB, volume 691)


Tumor necrosis factor-α (TNF-α) is known as a highly pleiotropic cytokine. Stimulation of TNF-receptor 1 (TNF-R1) by TNF-α elicits the transduction of intracellular signals that on the one side promote cell death by apoptosis. However, TNF-R1 may also transduce non-apoptotic signals that lead to inflammatory responses through the activation of the transcription factor nuclear factor-κB (NF-κB) or to cell proliferation through activation of the mitogen-activated protein kinase (MAPK) cascade. A clue to the understanding of these contradictory biological phenomena may arise from recent findings which reveal a regulatory role of receptor endocytosis and intracellular receptor trafficking in selective transmission of signals, which either promote apoptosis or rather cell survival. Although internalization of cell surface receptors has traditionally been regarded as a means to shut down signaling via receptor degradation, there is now good evidence for an active role of many internalized surface receptors in the continuation of signal transmission along the endocytic pathway. Thus endocytosis may control the quality, intensity, duration, and spatial distribution of signaling events. TNF-induced apoptotic signals lead to an enhanced generation of ceramide by the enzyme sphingomyelin phosphodiesterase 1 (SMPD1, also known as acid sphingomyelinase [A-SMase]). Since TNF-triggered activation of A-SMase is linked to the death domain of TNF-receptor 1 (TNF-R1) and since the death domain adapter proteins FADD and caspase-8 are recruited during internalization of TNF-R1 to endosomes (TNF-receptosomes), we examined the possibility that A-SMase could be activated by caspase-8 within this compartment. Since we observed TNF-induced proteolytic processing and activation of pro-A-SMase that depended on the presence of caspase-8, we propose that activation of A-SMase within TNF-receptosomes requires activation of caspase-8 and probably further downstream proteases. Thus the fusion of internalized TNF-receptosomes with trans-Golgi vesicles containing the proform of A-SMase should be recognized as a novel mechanism to transduce death signals along the endocytic route.


Jurkat Cell Death Domain Sphingomyelin Phosphodiesterase Confocal Laser Scanning Microscopy Immunofluorescence Bulky Hydrophobic Amino Acid 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.



This work was supported by grants from the Germany Research Foundation (DFG) SCHU733/7-1, SCHU733/8-1, the Collaborative Research Center SFB 415, the DFG Sphingolipid Priority Program SPP 1267, and by the Schleswig-Holstein Cluster of Excellence “Inflammation at Interfaces” given to S.S.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC 2011

Authors and Affiliations

  • Uwe Bertsch
    • 1
  • Bärbel Edelmann
    • 1
  • Vladimir Tchikov
    • 1
  • Supandi Winoto-Morbach
    • 1
  • Stefan Schütze
    • 1
  1. 1.Institute of Immunology, University Hospital of Schleswig-HolsteinKielGermany

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