Identification of TRAMs as sphingolipid-binding proteins using a photoactivatable and clickable short-chain ceramide analog

Yaqin Deng, Lin You, Yong Lu, Sungwon Han, Jingcheng Wang, Nikitha Vicas, Chuo Chen, Jin Ye

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

1 Scopus citations

Abstract

Ceramide is a lipid molecule that regulates diverse physiological and pathological reactions in part through inverting the topology of certain transmembrane proteins. This topological inversion is achieved through regulated alternative translocation (RAT), which reverses the direction by which membrane proteins are translocated across the endoplasmic reticulum during translation. However, owing to technical challenges in studying protein-ceramide interaction, it remains unclear how ceramide levels are sensed in cells to trigger RAT. Here, we report the synthesis of pac-C7-Cer, a photoactivatable and clickable short-chain ceramide analog that can be used as a probe to study protein-ceramide interactions. We demonstrate that translocating chain-associated membrane protein 2 (TRAM2), a protein known to control RAT of transmembrane 4 L6 subfamily member 20, and TRAM1, a homolog of TRAM2, interacted with molecules derived from pac-C7-Cer. This interaction was competed by naturally existing long-chain ceramide molecules. We showed that binding of ceramide and its analogs to TRAM2 correlated with their ability to induce RAT of transmembrane 4 L6 subfamily member 20. In addition to probing ceramide-TRAM interactions, we provide evidence that pac-C7-cer could be used for proteome-wide identification of ceramide-binding proteins. Our study provides mechanistic insights into RAT by identifying TRAMs as potential ceramide-binding proteins and establishes pac-C7-Cer as a valuable tool for future study of ceramide-protein interactions.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number101415
JournalJournal of Biological Chemistry
Volume297
Issue number6
DOIs
StatePublished - Dec 1 2021

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biochemistry
  • Molecular Biology
  • Cell Biology

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