Mammalian ceramide synthases

IUBMB Life. 2010 May;62(5):347-56. doi: 10.1002/iub.319.


In mammals, ceramide, a key intermediate in sphingolipid metabolism and an important signaling molecule, is synthesized by a family of six ceramide synthases (CerS), each of which synthesizes ceramides with distinct acyl chain lengths. There are a number of common biochemical features between the CerS, such as their catalytic mechanism, and their structure and intracellular localization. Different CerS also display remarkable differences in their biological properties, with each of them playing distinct roles in processes as diverse as cancer and tumor suppression, in the response to chemotherapeutic drugs, in apoptosis, and in neurodegenerative diseases.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Gene Expression Regulation, Enzymologic
  • Humans
  • Membrane Proteins / metabolism
  • Neoplasms / enzymology
  • Sphingosine / analogs & derivatives
  • Sphingosine / metabolism
  • Sphingosine N-Acyltransferase / metabolism*
  • Tumor Suppressor Proteins / metabolism


  • Membrane Proteins
  • Tumor Suppressor Proteins
  • CERS1 protein, human
  • CERS2 protein, human
  • CERS5 protein, human
  • CERS6 protein, human
  • CerS3 protein, mouse
  • Sphingosine N-Acyltransferase
  • Sphingosine
  • safingol