The in vitro activity of the ceramide transporter, CERT has been studied using a fluorescence assay. CERT is responsible for the in vivo non-vesicular trafficking of ceramide between the endoplasmic reticulum and Golgi. In this study we have examined how the membrane environment surrounding the ceramide substrate, the membrane packing density and the membrane charge, are affecting the ceramide transfer activity. To examine this we have used an anthrylvinyl-labeled ceramide analogue. We found that if ceramide is in a tightly packed environment such as in sphingomyelin or dipalmitoylphosphatidylcholine containing membranes, the CERT transfer activity is markedly reduced. Ceramide in fluid membranes on the other hand are available for CERT mediated transfer. CERT also favors membranes that contain phosphatidylinositol 4-monophospate, due to its binding capacity of the pleckstrin homology domain towards phosphatidylinositol 4-monophospate. From this study we conclude that the membrane matrix surrounding ceramide, that is ceramide miscibility, is largely affecting the transfer activity of CERT.
- Lipid transfer
- Phosphatidylinositol 4-monophosphate
- Resonance energy transfer
- Substrate specificity