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Molecular basis of sphingosine kinase 1 substrate recognition and catalysis.

Wang Z., Min X., Xiao S.H., Johnstone S., Romanow W., Meininger D., Xu H., Liu J., Dai J., An S., Thibault S., Walker N.

Sphingosine kinase 1 (SphK1) is a lipid kinase that catalyzes the conversion of sphingosine to sphingosine-1-phosphate (S1P), which has been shown to play a role in lymphocyte trafficking, angiogenesis, and response to apoptotic stimuli. As a central enzyme in modulating the S1P levels in cells, SphK1 emerges as an important regulator for diverse cellular functions and a potential target for drug discovery. Here, we present the crystal structures of human SphK1 in the apo form and in complexes with a substrate sphingosine-like lipid, ADP, and an inhibitor at 2.0-2.3 Å resolution. The SphK1 structures reveal a two-domain architecture in which its catalytic site is located in the cleft between the two domains and a hydrophobic lipid-binding pocket is buried in the C-terminal domain. Comparative analysis of these structures with mutagenesis and kinetic studies provides insight into how SphK1 recognizes the lipid substrate and catalyzes ATP-dependent phosphorylation.

Structure 21:798-809(2013) [PubMed] [Europe PMC]

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