Sphingolipid accumulation causes mitochondrial dysregulation and cell death

Jeffrey Knupp, Fernando Martinez-Montanes, Francoise Van Den Bergh, Stephanie Cottier, Roger Schneiter, Daniel Beard, Amy Chang

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Sphingolipids are structural components of cell membranes that have signaling roles to regulate many activities, including mitochondrial function and cell death. Sphingolipid metabolism is integrated with numerous metabolic networks, and dysregulated sphingolipid metabolism is associated with disease. Here, we describe a monogenic yeast model for sphingolipid accumulation. A csg2 Delta mutant cannot readily metabolize and accumulates the complex sphingolipid inositol phosphorylceramide (IPC). In these cells, aberrant activation of Ras GTPase is IPC-dependent, and accompanied by increased mitochondrial reactive oxygen species (ROS) and reduced mitochondrial mass. Survival or death of csg2 Delta cells depends on nutritional status. Abnormal Ras activation in csg2 Delta cells is associated with impaired Snf1/AMPK protein kinase, a key regulator of energy homeostasis. csg2 Delta cells are rescued from ROS production and death by overexpression of mitochondrial catalase Cta1, abrogation of Ras hyperactivity or genetic activation of Snf1/AMPK. These results suggest that sphingolipid dysregulation compromises metabolic integrity via Ras and Snf1/AMPK pathways.
Original languageEnglish
JournalCell Death and Differentiation
Issue number12
Pages (from-to)2044-2053
Publication statusPublished - 2017

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