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Journal of Lipids
Volume 2012 (2012), Article ID 404513, 9 pages
Research Article

A Nonradioactive Fluorimetric SPE-Based Ceramide Kinase Assay Using NBD-C6-Ceramide

Department Cellular and Molecular Medicine, Katholieke Universiteit Leuven, Campus Gasthuisberg O&N1, LIPIT, Herestraat, Box 601, 3000 Leuven, Belgium

Received 3 April 2012; Accepted 31 May 2012

Academic Editor: Philip W. Wertz

Copyright © 2012 Helena Van Overloop et al. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.


Ceramide kinase (CERK) has been implicated in important cellular processes such as inflammation and apoptosis. Its activity is usually measured using radiolabeled ceramide or [γ-32P]-ATP, followed by extraction, thin-layer chromatography, and detection of the formed labeled ceramide-1-phosphate. To eliminate the use of radioactivity, we developed similarly but independently from the approach by Don and Rosen (2008), a fluorescence-based ceramide kinase assay, using N-[7-(4-nitrobenz-2-oxa-1,3-diazole)]-6-aminohexanoyl-sphingenine (NBD-C6-ceramide) as substrate. Its Km value (4 μM) was comparable to that of N-hexanoyl-sphingenine (C6-ceramide). The produced fluorescent NBD-C6-ceramide-1-phosphate was captured by means of solid-phase extraction on an aminopropyl phase, resulting in a fast and sensitive CERK measurement. By performing this assay in a 96-well format, it is also suitable for high-throughput screening (HTS) to search for CERK modulators. A limited screen revealed that some protein kinase inhibitors (e.g., U-0126; IC50 4 μM) and ceramide analogues (e.g., fenretinide, AMG-9810; IC50 1.1 μM) affect CERK in vitro.