Structure of the ceramide-bound SPOTS complex

Jan-Hannes Schäfer, Carolin Körner, Bianca M. Esch, Sergej Limar, Kristian
Parey, Stefan Walter, Dovile Januliene#, Arne Moeller#, Florian Fröhlich#

Sphingolipids are structural membrane components that also function in cellular stress responses. The serine palmitoyl-transferase (SPT) catalyzes the rate limiting step in sphingolipid biogenesis. Its activity is tightly regulated through multiple binding partners, including Tsc3, Orm proteins, ceramides, and the phosphatidylinositol-4-phosphate (PI4P) phosphatase Sac1. The structural organization and regulatory mechanisms of this complex are not yet understood.

Here, we report the high-resolution cryo-EM structures of the yeast SPT in complex with Tsc3 and Orm1 (SPOT) as dimers and monomers and a monomeric complex further carrying Sac1 (SPOTS). In all complexes, the tight interaction of the downstream metabolite ceramide and Orm1 reveals the ceramide dependent inhibition. Additionally, observation of ceramide and ergosterol binding suggests a co-regulation of sphingolipid biogenesis and sterol metabolism within the SPOTS complex.