Function of ceramide transfer protein for biogenesis and sphingolipid composition of extracellular vesicles

Simone M Crivelli, Caterina Giovagnoni, Zhihui Zhu, Priyanka Tripathi, Ahmed Elsherbini, Zainuddin Quadri, Jian Pu, Liping Zhang, Branislav Ferko, Dusan Berkes, Stefka D Spassieva, Pilar Martinez-Martinez*, Erhard Bieberich*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review


The formation of extracellular vesicles (EVs) is induced by the sphingolipid ceramide. How this pathway is regulated is not entirely understood. Here, we report that the ceramide transport protein (CERT) mediates a non-vesicular transport of ceramide between the endoplasmic reticulum (ER) and the multivesicular endosome at contact sites. The process depends on the interaction of CERT's PH domain with PI4P generated by PI4KIIα at endosomes. Furthermore, a complex is formed between the START domain of CERT, which carries ceramide, and the Tsg101 protein, which is part of the endosomal sorting complex required for transport (ESCRT-I). Inhibition of ceramide biosynthesis reduces CERT-Tsg101 complex formation. Overexpression of CERT increases EV secretion while its inhibition reduces EV formation and the concentration of ceramides and sphingomyelins in EVs. In conclusion, we discovered a function of CERT in regulating the sphingolipid composition and biogenesis of EVs, which links ceramide to the ESCRT-dependent pathway.

Original languageEnglish
Article numbere12233
Number of pages22
JournalJournal of Extracellular Vesicles
Issue number6
Publication statusPublished - Jun 2022


  • Carrier Proteins
  • Ceramides
  • Endosomal Sorting Complexes Required for Transport/metabolism
  • Extracellular Vesicles/metabolism
  • Protein Serine-Threonine Kinases
  • Sphingolipids
  • PI4KIII beta
  • PI4KIII beta-IN-10
  • Tsg101
  • ceramide
  • AlphaFold2
  • HPA-12
  • NC03
  • PI4KII alpha
  • extracellular vesicles
  • ER-endosome contact sites
  • PI4P
  • sphingomyelin
  • CERT


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