Remodeling of cellular cytoskeleton by the acid sphingomyelinase/ceramide pathway

Youssef H. Zeidan, Russell W. Jenkins, Yusuf A. Hannun

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

133 Scopus citations


The chemotherapeutic agent cisplatin is widely used in treatment of solid tumors. In breast cancer cells, cisplatin produces early and marked changes in cell morphology and the actin cytoskeleton. These changes manifest as loss of lamellipodia/filopodia and appearance of membrane ruffles. Furthermore, cisplatin induces dephosphorylation of the actin-binding protein ezrin, and its relocation from membrane protrusions to the cytosol. Because cisplatin activates acid sphingomyelinase (ASMase), we investigate here the role of the ASMase/ceramide (Cer) pathway in mediating these morphological changes. We find that cisplatin induces a transient elevation in ASMase activity and its redistribution to the plasma membrane. This translocation is blocked upon over expression of a dominant-negative (DN) ASMaseS508A mutant and by a DN PKCδ. Importantly; knockdown of ASMase protects MCF-7 cells from cisplatin-induced cytoskeletal changes including ezrin dephosphorylation. Reciprocally, exogenous delivery of D-e-C16-Cer, but not dihydro-C16-Cer, recapitulates the morphotropic effects of cisplatin. Collectively, these results highlight a novel tumor suppressor property for Cer and a function for ASMase in cisplatin-induced cytoskeletal remodeling.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)335-350
Number of pages16
JournalJournal of Cell Biology
Issue number2
StatePublished - Apr 21 2008
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Cell Biology


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