Ceramide as an activator lipid of cathepsin D

Michael Heinrich, Marc Wickel, Supandi Winoto-Morbach, Wulf Schneider-Brachert, Thomas Weber, Josef Brunner, Paul Saftig, Christoph Peters, Martin Krönke, Stefan Schütze

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

100 Scopus citations


We have identified the aspartic protease cathepsin D as a novel intracellular target protein for the lipid second messenger ceramide. Ceramide specifically binds to and induces CTSD proteolytic activity. A-SMase deficient cells derived from Niemann-Pick patients show decreased CTSD activity that was reconstituted by transfection with A-SMase cDNA. Ceramide accumulation in cells derived from A-ceramidase defective Farber patients correlates with enhanced CTSD activity. These findings suggest that A-SMase-derived ceramide targets endolysosomal CTSD.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)305-315
Number of pages11
JournalAdvances in Experimental Medicine and Biology
StatePublished - 2000
Externally publishedYes


  • Acid Sphingomyelinase
  • Cathepsin D
  • Ceramide
  • TID-Ceramide


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