The cellular trafficking and zinc dependence of secretory and lysosomal sphingomyelinase, two products of the acid sphingomyelinase gene

Scott L. Schissel, George A. Keesler, Edward H. Schuchman, Kevin Jon Williams, Ira Tabas

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

213 Scopus citations

Abstract

The acid sphingomyelinase (ASM) gene, which has been implicated in ceramide-mediated cell signaling and atherogenesis, gives rise to both lysosomal SMase (L-SMase), which is reportedly cation-independent, and secretory SMase (S-SMase), which is fully or partially dependent on Zn2+ for enzymatic activity. Herein we present evidence for a model to explain how a single mRNA gives rise to two forms of SMase with different cellular trafficking and apparent differences in Zn2+ dependence. First, we show that both S-SMase and L-SMase, which contain several highly conserved zinc- binding motifs, are directly activated by zinc. In addition, SMase assayed from a lysosome-rich fraction of Chinese hamster ovary cells was found to be partially zinc-dependent, suggesting that intact lysosomes from these cells contain subsaturating levels of Zn2+. Analysis of Asn-linked oligosaccharides and of N-terminal amino acid sequence indicated that S- SMase arises by trafficking through the Golgi secretory pathway, not by cellular release of L-SMase during trafficking to lysosomes or after delivery to lysosomes. Most importantly, when Zn2+-dependent S-SMase was incubated with SMase-negative cells, the enzyme was internalized, trafficked to lysosomes, and became zinc-independent. We conclude that L-SMase is exposed to cellular Zn2+ during trafficking to lysosomes, in lysosomes, and/or during cell homogenization. In contrast, the pathway targeting S-SMase to secretion appears to be relatively sequestered from cellular pools of Zn2+; thus S-SMase requires exogeneous Zn2+ for full activity. This model provides important information for understanding the enzymology and regulation of L- and S-SMase and for exploring possible roles of ASM gene products in cell signaling and atherogenesis.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)18250-18259
Number of pages10
JournalJournal of Biological Chemistry
Volume273
Issue number29
DOIs
StatePublished - 17 Jul 1998

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