Department of Regenerative Medicine and Cell biology

Research in Focus

Role of Sphingolipids and Sphingolipid Metabolizing Enzymes in Macrophage Biology

Macrophages play a central role in innate immune responses, in disposal of cholesterol, and in tissue homeostasis and remodeling. To perform these vital functions macrophages display high endosomal/lysosomal activities. Recent studies have highlighted that sphingolipids are involved in modulation of membrane structures and signal transduction in addition to their metabolic role. Dr. Hammad’s group conducts studies on the role of sphingolipids and sphingolipid metabolizing enzymes such sphingosine kinases, sphingomyleniases, and ceramidases, in their different forms and locations that are necessary for the macrophage to accomplish its diverse functions. Dr. Hammad’s group has recently addressed the critical role of acid sphingomyelinase in mediating macrophage activation, cytokine release, and phagocytosis.

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RAW 264-7 macrophages were transfected with acid sphingomyelinase (ASMase)-dsRed and treated with 3,30 dioctadecyloxacarbocyanine perchlorate (DiO)-labelled lipoprotein-containing immune complexes (IC, green) for 4 hours before live visualization by confocal microscopy. Image shows ASMase involvement with phagocytosis of IC. Arrow denotes a phagosome with internalization of co-localized ASMase-dsRed and DiO-IC (yellow).

posted 6/3/2013

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