Ceramide/sphingosine/sphingosine 1-phosphate metabolism on the cell surface and in the extracellular space

Motohiro Tani, Makoto Ito, Yasuyuki Igarashi

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

130 Citations (Scopus)


Sphingolipid metabolites, ceramide, sphingosine, and sphingosine 1-phosphate, have emerged as a new class of lipid biomodulators of various cell functions. These metabolites are known to function not only as intracellular second messengers, but also in the extracellular space. Sphingosine 1-phosphate especially has numerous functions as an important extracellular mediator that binds to cell surface S1P receptors. Recent studies have also shown that sphingolipid-metabolizing enzymes function not only in intracellular organelles but also in the extracellular spaces, including the outer leaflet of the plasma membrane. This review focuses on the metabolic enzymes (acid and alkaline sphingomyelinases, neutral ceramidase, and sphingosine kinase) that are involved in the production of the sphingolipid metabolites in these extracellular spaces, and on the metabolic pathway itself.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)229-237
Number of pages9
JournalCellular Signalling
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - Feb 2007

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Cell Biology


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