Sphingolipids modulate clathrin-mediated endocytosis (CME) by altering biophysical properties of membranes. We now examine CME in astrocytes cultured from ceramide synthase 2 (CerS2) null mice, which have an altered sphingolipid acyl chain composition. The rate of endocytosis of low-density lipoprotein and transferrin, which are internalized via CME, was reduced in CerS2 null astrocytes, although the rate of caveolin-mediated endocytosis was unaltered. Levels of clathrin heavy chain were increased, which was due to decreased levels of Hsc70, a protein involved in clathrin uncoating. Hsc70 levels were decreased because of lower levels of binding of Sp1 to position -68 in the Hsc70 promoter. Levels of Sp1 were down-regulated due to oxidative stress, which was elevated 4-fold in CerS2 null astrocytes. Furthermore, induction of oxidative stress in wild type astrocytes decreased the rate of CME whereas amelioration of oxidative stress in CerS2 null astrocytes reversed the decrease. Our data are consistent with the notion that sphingolipids not only change membrane biophysical properties but altering their composition can result in down-stream effects that indirectly impinge upon a number of cellular pathways, such as CME.
- Received November 21, 2016.
- Accepted February 28, 2017.
- © 2017. Published by The Company of Biologists Ltd