Cellular effects of deoxynojirimycin analogues: uptake, retention and inhibition of glycosphingolipid biosynthesis.
Mellor HR., Neville DC., Harvey DJ., Platt FM., Dwek RA., Butters TD.
Deoxynojirimycin (DNJ) analogues are inhibitors of ceramide glucosyltransferase (CGT), which catalyses the first step in the glucosphingolipid (GSL) biosynthetic pathway. We have synthesized a series of DNJ analogues to study the contribution of N-alk(en)yl side chains (C4, C9 or C18) to the behaviour of these analogues in cultured HL60 cells. When cells were treated for 16 h at non-cytotoxic concentrations of inhibitor, a 40-50% decrease in GSL levels was measured by HPLC analysis of GSL-derived oligosaccharides following ceramide glycanase digestion of GSL and 2-aminobenzamide labelling of the released oligosaccharides. Using a novel technique for short-term [14C]galactose labelling of cellular GSL, we used compound inhibition of GSL biosynthesis as a marker for compound uptake into cells. Surprisingly, the uptake of all three of the DNJ analogues was extremely rapid and was not dependent upon the length of the N-alk(en)yl moiety. Compound uptake occurred in less than 1 min, as shown by the complete inhibition of GSL labelling in cells treated with all the DNJ analogues. Greatly increased cellular retention of N-cis-13-octadecenyl-DNJ was observed relative to the shorter-chain compounds, N-butyl-DNJ and N-nonyl-DNJ, as indicated by complete inhibition of CGT 24 h after removal of inhibitor from the culture medium. The present study further characterizes the properties of N-alk(en)ylated DNJs, and demonstrates that increasing the length of the side chain is a simple way of improving imino sugar retention and therefore inhibitory efficacy for CGT in cultured cells.