Enhancement of fibroblast collagenase (matrix metalloproteinase-1) gene expression by ceramide is mediated by extracellular signal-regulated and stress-activated protein kinase pathways

N Reunanen, J Westermarck, L Häkkinen, TH Holmström, I Elo, John Eriksson, VM Kähäri

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    Inflammatory cytokines tumor necrosis factor-alpha and interleukin-1 trigger the ceramide signaling pathway, initiated by neutral sphingomyelinase-elicited hydrolysis of cell membrane phospholipid sphingomyelin to ceramide, a new lipid second messenger. Here, we show that triggering the ceramide pathway by sphingomyelinase or C2- and C6-ceramide enhances collagenase-1 (matrix metalloproteinase-1; MMP-1) gene expression by fibroblasts. C2-ceramide activates three distinct mitogen-activated protein kinases (MAPKs) in dermal fibroblasts, i.e. extracellular signal-regulated kinase 1/2 (ERK1/2), stress-activated protein kinase/Jun N-terminal-kinase (SAPK/JNK), and p38. Stimulation of MMP-1 promoter activity by C2-ceramide is dependent on the presence of a functional AP-1 cis-element and is entirely inhibited by overexpression of MAPK inhibitor, dual specificity phosphatase CL100 (MAPK phosphatase-1). Activation of MMP-1 promoter by C2-ceramide is also effectively inhibited by kinase-deficient forms of ERK1/2 kinase (MEK1/2) activator Raf-1, ERK1 and ERK2, SAPK/JNK activator SEK1, or SAPKbeta. In addition, ceramide-dependent induction of MMP-1 expression is potently prevented by PD 98059, a selective inhibitor of MEK1 activation, and by specific p38 inhibitor SB 203580. These results show that triggering the ceramide signaling pathway activates MMP-1 gene expression via three distinct MAPK pathways, i.e. ERK1/2, SAPK/JNK, and p38, and suggest that targeted modulation of the ceramide signaling pathway may offer a novel therapeutic approach for inhibiting collagenolytic activity, e.g. in inflammatory disorders.
    Original languageUndefined/Unknown
    Pages (from-to)5137–5145
    JournalJournal of Biological Chemistry
    Issue number9
    Publication statusPublished - 1998
    MoE publication typeA1 Journal article-refereed

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