Specific and sensitive assay for alkaline and neutral ceramidases involving C12-NBD-ceramide

Motohiro Tani, Nozomu Okino, Susumu Mitsutake, Makoto Ito

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41 Citations (Scopus)


A fluorescent analogue of ceramide, C12-NBD-ceramide, was found to be hydrolyzed much faster than 14C-labeled ceramide by alkaline ceramidase from Pseudomonas aeruginosa and neutral ceramidase from mouse liver, while this substrate was relatively resistant to acid ceramidase from plasma of the horseshoe crab. The radioactive substrate was used more preferentially by the acid ceramidase. It should be noted that C6-NBD-ceramide, which is usually used for ceramidase assays, was hardly hydrolyzed by any of the enzymes examined, compared to C12-NBD)-ceramide. For the alkaline and neutral enzymes, the V(max) and k (V(max)/K(m)) with C12-NBD-ceramide were much higher than those with 14C-ceramide. In contrast, for the acid enzyme these parameters with C12-NBD-ceramide were less than half those with the radioisotope-labeled substrate. It is noteworthy that the labeling of ceramide with NBD did not itself reduce the K(m) of the alkaline enzyme, but did that of the neutral enzyme. It was also found that C12-NBD-ceramide was preferentially hydrolyzed by the alkaline and neutral enzymes, but not the acid one, in several mammalian cell lines. This study clearly shows that the attachment of NBD, but not dansyl, increases the susceptibility of ceramide to alkaline and neutral enzyme, and decreases that to acid enzymes. Thus the use of this substrate provides a specific and sensitive assay for alkaline and neutral ceramidases.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)746-749
Number of pages4
JournalJournal of biochemistry
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - 1999

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Biochemistry
  • Molecular Biology


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