Src regulates cigarette smoke-induced ceramide generation via neutral sphingomyelinase 2 in the airway epithelium

Samuel Chung, Simon Vu, Simone Filosto, Tzipora Goldkorn

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

13 Scopus citations


We previously demonstrated that the neutral sphingomyelinase (nSMase) 2 is the sole sphingomyelinase activated during cigarette smoke (CS)-induced oxidative stress of human airway epithelial cells, leading to ceramide generation and subsequent apoptosis of affected cells. Since then, we reported that nSMase2 is a phosphoprotein, the degree of enzymatic activity and stability of which are dictated by its degree of phosphorylation. Simultaneously, the non-receptor tyrosine kinase and protooncogene Src has increasingly become a target of interest in both smoking-related lung injury, such as chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, and lung cancer. Within this context, we tested and now present Src as a regulator of ceramide generation via modulation of nSMase2 phosphorylation and activity during CS-induced oxidative stress. Specifically, we provide evidence that Src activity is necessary for both CS-induced ceramide accumulation in vivo (129/Sv mice) and in vitro (human airway epithelial cells) and for nSMase2 activity during CS-induced oxidative stress. Moreover, because nSMase2 is exclusively phosphorylated on serines, we show that this occurs through Src-dependent activation of the serine/threonine kinase p38 mitogen-activated protein kinase during oxidative stress. Finally, we provide evidence that Src and p38 mitogen-activated protein kinase activities are critical for regulating nSMase2 phosphorylation. This study provides insights into a molecular target involved in smoking-related lung injury, represented here as nSMase2, and its modulation by the oncogene Src.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)738-748
Number of pages11
JournalAmerican Journal of Respiratory Cell and Molecular Biology
Issue number6
StatePublished - Jun 1 2015


  • Ceramide
  • Neutral sphingomyelinase 2
  • Sphingolipids
  • Src

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Cell Biology
  • Pulmonary and Respiratory Medicine
  • Molecular Biology
  • Clinical Biochemistry


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