Sphingolipids are important cell membrane components among the phospholipid bilayer.
Sphingolipid themselves and breakdown products play a significant role in signal transduction. All
sphingolipids have a sphingosine backbone which is a long chain amino alcohol. Structurally, Sphingadienes
differ from sphingosines due to the extra unsaturation present in the long aliphatic hydrocarbon
chain. Sphingadienes have been isolated from fungi, plants, insects, marine organisms, and humans;
mostly as components of sphingolipids. The biosynthesis of sphingadienes takes place due to
the action of desaturase on sphingosine. The growing interest on sphingadienes is due to its implication
in the biological processes such as apoptosis, cell signaling which has a direct impact on the development
of anticancer and anti-inflammatory agents. Recent literature shows the action of sphingadiene on colon cancer
cells is based on Akt dependent pathway. Further, a plant derived sphingadiene has shown anti-inflammatory activity by
significantly inhibiting tumor necrosis factor α. The recent multigram quantity synthesis will undoubtedly strengthen the
research in this area as this naturally occurring minor cell components cannot be harnessed in enough quantities for detailed
mechanistic studies on biological effects.
Keywords: Anticancer, anti-inflammatory, apoptosis, ceramide, desaturase, erlotinib, sphingadienes, sphingolipid, sphingosine,
sphingosine kinase, synthesis, tandem mass spectrometry, tyrosine kinase.
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