Inhibition of cytokinesis by a lipid metabolite, psychosine

Takayuki Kanazawa, Sachiko Nakamura, Michiko Momoi, Toshiyuki Yamaji, Hiromu Takematsu, Hajime Yano, Hisataka Sabe, Akitsugu Yamamoto, Toshisuke Kawasaki, Yasunori Kozutsumi

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

95 Citations (Scopus)


Although a number of cellular components of cytokinesis have been identified, little is known about the detailed mechanisms underlying this process. Here, we report that the lipid metabolite psychosine (galactosylsphingosine), derived from galactosylceramide, induced formation of multinuclear cells from a variety of nonadherent and adherent cells due to inhibition of cytokinesis. When psychosine was added to the human myelomonocyte cell line U937, which was the most sensitive among the cell lines tested, cleavage furrow formed either incompletely or almost completely. However, abnormal contractile movement was detected in which the cellular contents of one of the hemispheres of the contracting cell were transferred into its counterpart. Finally, the cleavage furrow disappeared and cytokinesis was reversed. Psychosine treatment also induced giant clots of actin filaments in the cells that probably consisted of small vacuoles with filamentous structures, suggesting that psychosine affected actin reorganization. These observations could account for the formation of multinuclear globoid cells in the brains of patients with globoid cell leukodystrophy, a neurological disorder characterized by the accumulation of psychosine due to galactosylceramidase deficiency.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)943-950
Number of pages8
JournalJournal of Cell Biology
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - 15-05-2000
Externally publishedYes

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Cell Biology


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