The Journal of biological chemistry

Sphingosine kinase 1 regulates tumor necrosis factor-mediated RANTES induction through p38 mitogen-activated protein kinase but independently of nuclear factor κB activation.

PMID 23935096


Sphingosine kinase 1 (SK1) produces the pro-survival sphingolipid sphingosine 1-phosphate and has been implicated in inflammation, proliferation, and angiogenesis. Recent studies identified TRAF2 as a sphingosine 1-phosphate target, implicating SK1 in activation of the NF-κB pathway, but the functional consequences of this connection on gene expression are unknown. Here, we find that loss of SK1 potentiates induction of the chemokine RANTES (regulated on activation, normal T cell expressed and secreted; also known as CCL5) in HeLa cells stimulated with TNF-α despite RANTES induction being highly dependent on the NF-κB pathway. Additionally, we find that SK1 is not required for TNF-induced IKK phosphorylation, IκB degradation, nuclear translocation of NF-κB subunits, and transcriptional NF-κB activity. In contrast, loss of SK1 prevented TNF-induced phosphorylation of p38 MAPK, and inhibition of p38 MAPK, like SK1 knockdown, also potentiates RANTES induction. Finally, in addition to RANTES, loss of SK1 also potentiated the induction of multiple chemokines and cytokines in the TNF response. Taken together, these data identify a potential and novel anti-inflammatory function of SK1 in which chemokine levels are suppressed through SK1-mediated activation of p38 MAPK. Furthermore, in this system, activation of NF-κB is dissociated from SK1, suggesting that the interaction between these pathways may be more complex than currently thought.