Advance In the Study of Mechanisms regulatd by Sphingosine-1-Phosphate

Fei Ye, Xiangqian Kong, Cheng Luo

Sphingosine-1-phosphate (S1P) is a bioactive lipid messenger in the cells that regulate gene expression and NF-KB signal pathway through unknown mechanisms. Recently, Cheng Luo, associate professor of DDDC in Shanghai Institute of Materia Medica, whose project was funded by the National Natural Science Foundation of China, joined in a research team led by Professor Sarah Spiegel of Virginia Commonwealth University. The team continuously made significant breakthroughs in understanding the regulation mechanism of Sphingosine-1-Phosphate. In September 2009, in a paper published on SCIENCE magazine (Science 2009, 325: 1254-7), they firstly demonstrated that S1P is a physiologically important regulator of histone deacetylases (HDACs), HDACs are direct intracellular targets of S1P. Furthermore, they identified the mechanism that S1P regulates gene expression through regulating the activity of HDACs. In June 24th, 2010, in another paper to be published on NATURE magazine (Nature 2010, June 24th, advance online publication) which reports the regulation of NF-KB signaling pathway by S1P. They demonstrate that S1P is the missing cofactor for TRAF2 (tumour-necrosis factor receptor-associated factor 2) and indicate a new paradigm for the regulation of lysine-63-linked poly-ubiquitination. The study also highlight the key role of SphK1 and its product S1P in TNF-α signalling and the canonical NF-KB activation pathway, and then play crucial role in inflammatory, antiapoptotic and immune processes. The identification of new mechanisms by which S1P regulates gene expression and TNF and NF-KB signaling pathway will light up the road to develop novel inhibitors that might be useful for treatment of cancer and inflammatory diseases.