The emerging role of Acid Sphingomyelinase in autophagy

Cristiana Perrotta, Davide Cervia, Clara De Palma, Emma Assi, Paolo Pellegrino, Maria Teresa Bassi, Emilio Clementi

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Autophagy, the main intracellular process of cytoplasmic material degradation, is involved in cell survival and death. Autophagy is regulated at various levels and novel modulators of its function are being continuously identified. An intriguing recent observation is that among these modulators is the sphingolipid metabolising enzyme, Acid Sphingomyelinase (A-SMase), already known to play a fundamental role in apoptotic cell death participating in several pathophysiological conditions. In this review we analyse and discuss the relationship between autophagy and A-SMase describing how A-SMase may regulate it and defining, for the first time, the existence of an A-SMase-autophagy axis. The imbalance of this axis plays a role in cancer, nervous system, cardiovascular, and hepatic disorders.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)635-644
Number of pages10
Issue number5
Publication statusPublished - Mar 30 2015


  • Acid Sphingomyelinase
  • Autophagic signalling
  • Autophagy
  • Autophagy-related diseases
  • Lysosomes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Cell Biology
  • Clinical Biochemistry
  • Biochemistry, medical
  • Cancer Research
  • Pharmaceutical Science
  • Pharmacology
  • Medicine(all)


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