(R)-FTY720 methyl ether is a specific sphingosine kinase 2 inhibitor: Effect on sphingosine kinase 2 expression in HEK 293 cells and actin rearrangement and survival of MCF-7 breast cancer cells

Keng Gat Lim, Chaode Sun, Robert Bittman, Nigel J Pyne, Susan Pyne

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Sphingosine kinase 2 (SK2) catalyses the conversion of sphingosine to the bioactive lipid sphingosine 1-phosphate (S1P). We report here, the stereospecific synthesis of an analogue of FTY720 called (R)-FTY720-OMe, which we show is a competitive inhibitor of SK2. (R)-FTY720-OMe failed to inhibit sphingosine kinase 1 activity, thereby demonstrating specificity for SK2. Prolonged treatment of HEK 293 cells with (R)-FTY720-OMe also induced a reduction in SK2 expression. In addition, (R)-FTY720-OMe inhibited DNA synthesis and prevented S1P-stimulated rearrangement of actin in MCF-7 breast cancer cells. These findings demonstrate that SK2 functions as a pro-survival protein and is involved in promoting actin rearrangement into membrane ruffles/lamellipodia in response to S1P in MCF-7 breast cancer cells.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1590-1595
Number of pages6
JournalCellular Signalling
Issue number10
Publication statusPublished - Oct 2011


  • sphingosine kinase 2
  • apoptosis
  • kinetics
  • breast cancer
  • FTY720 analogues

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