Sphingolipids and phosphoinositides both play signaling roles in Saccharomyces cerevisiae. Although previous data indicate independent functions for these two classes of lipids, recent genetic studies have suggested interactions between phosphatidylinositol (PtdIns) phosphate effectors and sphingolipid biosynthetic enzymes. The present study was undertaken to further define the effects of phosphatidylinositol 4-phosphate (PtdIns(4)P) metabolism on cell sphingolipid metabolism. The data presented indicate that deletion of SAC1, a gene encoding a PtdIns(4)P phosphatase, increased levels of most sphingolipid species, including sphingoid bases, sphingoid base phosphates, and phytoceramide. In contrast, sac1Delta dramatically reduced inositol phosphosphingolipids, which result from the addition of a PtdIns-derived phosphoinositol head group to ceramides through Aur1p. Deletion of SAC1 decreased PtdIns dramatically in both steady-state and pulse labeling studies, suggesting that the observed effects on sphingolipids may result from modulation of the availability of PtdIns as a substrate for Aur1p. Supporting this hypothesis, acute attenuation of PtdIns(4)P production through Stt4p immediately increased PtdIns and subsequently reduced sphingoid bases. This reduction was overcome by the inhibition of Aur1p. Moreover, modulation of sphingoid bases through perturbation of PtdIns(4)P metabolism initiated sphingolipid-dependent biological effects, supporting the biological relevance for this route of regulating sphingolipids. These findings suggest that, in addition to potential signaling effects of PtdInsP effectors on sphingolipid metabolism, PtdIns kinases may exert substantial effects on cell sphingolipid profiles at a metabolic level through modulation of PtdIns available as a substrate for complex sphingolipid synthesis.
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