Generation and metabolism of bioactive sphingosine-1-phosphate

J Cell Biochem. 2004 Aug 1;92(5):882-99. doi: 10.1002/jcb.20097.


Sphingosine-1-phosphate (S1P) is a bioactive lysosphingophospholipid that has been implicated in the regulation of vital biological processes. Abundant evidence indicates that S1P acts as both an intracellular messenger and an extracellular ligand for a family of five specific G protein-coupled S1P receptors (S1PRs). Cellular levels of S1P are tightly regulated in a spatio-temporal manner through its synthesis catalyzed by sphingosine kinases (SphKs) and degradation by S1P lyase (SPL) and specific S1P phosphohydrolases. Over the past decade, the identification and cloning of genes encoding S1P metabolizing enzymes has increased rapidly. Overexpression and deletion of these enzymes has provided important insights into the intracellular and the "inside-out" functions of S1P. The purpose of this review is to summarize the current knowledge of S1P metabolizing enzymes, their enzymatic properties, and their roles in the control of cellular functions by S1P.

Publication types

  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Catalysis
  • GTP-Binding Proteins / metabolism
  • Hydrolysis
  • Lysophospholipids / biosynthesis*
  • Lysophospholipids / metabolism*
  • Sphingosine / analogs & derivatives*
  • Sphingosine / biosynthesis*
  • Sphingosine / metabolism*


  • Lysophospholipids
  • sphingosine 1-phosphate
  • GTP-Binding Proteins
  • Sphingosine