Principles of bioactive lipid signalling: lessons from sphingolipids

Nat Rev Mol Cell Biol. 2008 Feb;9(2):139-50. doi: 10.1038/nrm2329.


It has become increasingly difficult to find an area of cell biology in which lipids do not have important, if not key, roles as signalling and regulatory molecules. The rapidly expanding field of bioactive lipids is exemplified by many sphingolipids, such as ceramide, sphingosine, sphingosine-1-phosphate (S1P), ceramide-1-phosphate and lyso-sphingomyelin, which have roles in the regulation of cell growth, death, senescence, adhesion, migration, inflammation, angiogenesis and intracellular trafficking. Deciphering the mechanisms of these varied cell functions necessitates an understanding of the complex pathways of sphingolipid metabolism and the mechanisms that regulate lipid generation and lipid action.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, Non-P.H.S.
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Cell Physiological Phenomena
  • Humans
  • Inflammation
  • Lipid Metabolism*
  • Lipids / chemistry
  • Lysophospholipids / metabolism
  • Membrane Lipids / chemistry
  • Models, Biological
  • Neovascularization, Pathologic
  • Signal Transduction
  • Sphingolipids / metabolism*
  • Sphingosine / analogs & derivatives
  • Sphingosine / metabolism


  • Lipids
  • Lysophospholipids
  • Membrane Lipids
  • Sphingolipids
  • sphingosine 1-phosphate
  • Sphingosine