Ceramide synthase 6 (CerS6, also known as LASS6) is one of the six members of ceramide synthase gene family in humans. Comparisons of CerS6 amino acid sequences and structures as well as of CerS6 gene structures/locations were conducted using data from several vertebrate genome projects. A specific role for the CerS6 gene and protein has been identified as the endoplasmic reticulum C14- and C16-ceramide synthase. Mammalian CerS6 proteins share 90⁻100% similarity among different species, but are only 22⁻63% similar to other CerS family members, suggesting that CerS6 is a distinct gene family. Sequence alignments, predicted transmembrane, lumenal and cytoplasmic segments and N-glycosylation sites were also investigated, resulting in identification of the key conserved residues, including the active site as well as C-terminus acidic and serine residues. Mammalian CerS6 genes contain ten exons, are primarily located on the positive strands and transcribed as two major isoforms. The human CERS6 gene promoter harbors a large CpG island (94 CpGs) and multiple transcription factor binding sites (TFBS), which support precise transcriptional regulation and signaling functions. Additional regulation is conferred by 15 microRNA (miRNA) target sites identified in the CERS6 3'-UTR region. Phylogenetic analysis of the vertebrate CerS1⁻6 gene families relationships supports a major role for the CerS6 enzyme that is strongly conserved throughout vertebrate evolution.
Keywords: CerS6; ceramide synthase; enzymes; genes; human; invertebrates; mouse; vertebrates; yeast.