Journal Of Lipid Research
Sphingosine-1-phosphate (S1P) is a sphingolipid metabolite that serves as a potent extracellular signaling molecule. Metabolic regulation of extracellular S1P levels impacts key cellular activities through altered S1P receptor signaling. Although the pathway through which S1P is degraded within the cell and thereby eliminated from re-use has been previously described, the mechanism used for S1P cellular uptake and the subsequent recycling of its sphingoid base into the sphingolipid synthesis pathway is not completely understood. To identify the genes within this S1P uptake and recycling pathway, we performed a genome-wide CRISPR/Cas9 KO screen using a positive-selection scheme with Shiga toxin, which binds a cell-surface glycosphingolipid receptor, globotriaosylceramide (Gb3), and causes lethality upon internalization. The screen was performed in HeLa cells with their sphingolipid de novo pathway disabled so that Gb3 cell-surface expression was dependent on salvage of the sphingoid base of S1P taken up from the medium. The screen identified a suite of genes necessary for S1P uptake and the recycling of its sphingoid base to synthesize Gb3, including two lipid phosphatases, PLPP3 (phospholipid phosphatase 3) and SGPP1 (S1P phosphatase 1). The results delineate a pathway in which plasma membrane-bound PLPP3 dephosphorylates extracellular S1P to sphingosine, which then enters cells and is rephosphorylated to S1P by the sphingosine kinases. This rephosphorylation step is important to regenerate intracellular S1P as a branch-point substrate that can be routed either for dephosphorylation to salvage sphingosine for recycling into complex sphingolipid synthesis or for degradation to remove it from the sphingolipid synthesis pathway.