Sphingolipids are involved in N-methyl-N'-nitro-N-nitrosoguanidine-induced epidermal growth factor receptor clustering. Academic Article uri icon


  • Previously we have found that N-methyl-N'-nitro-N-nitrosoguanidine (MNNG), an alkylating agent, can induce the clustering of cellular surface receptors including tumor necrosis factor receptor (TNFR) and epidermal growth factor receptor (EGFR). Since sphingolipids, especially ceramide, have been suggested as major players in ligand-induced receptor clustering, their involvement in this ligand-independent, chemical-induced receptor clustering was evaluated. It was shown that MNNG-induced EGFR clustering occurred primarily at lipid rafts, as nystatin, which can disrupt lipid raft structure, significantly decreasing MNNG-induced EGFR clustering. Lipidomic studies revealed that MNNG treatment induced profound changes in sphingolipids metabolism, which were not the same as those induced by EGF treatment. Acid sphingomyelinase (ASM) is responsible for hydrolyzing sphingomyelin to generate ceramide, and it was demonstrated that MNNG treatment caused ASM distribution changing from diffused state to concentrated area of cells, which colocalized with lipid rafts. Nystatin treatment also abolished the redistribution of ASM. In addition, blockage of ceramide production by ASM inhibitor imipramine interrupted MNNG-induced receptor clustering. Taken together, these data suggested that sphingolipids are involved in MNNG-induced receptor clustering; however, the specific species involved may be different from those involved in EGF-mediated receptor clustering.

published proceedings

  • Biochem Biophys Res Commun

author list (cited authors)

  • Huang, Y., Yang, J., Shen, J., Chen, F. F., & Yu, Y.

citation count

  • 8

complete list of authors

  • Huang, Yun||Yang, Jun||Shen, Jing||Chen, Fanqing F||Yu, Yingnian

publication date

  • January 2005