Frontiers in Bioscience-Landmark (FBL) is published by IMR Press from Volume 26 Issue 5 (2021). Previous articles were published by another publisher on a subscription basis, and they are hosted by IMR Press on imrpress.com as a courtesy and upon agreement with Frontiers in Bioscience.
Glycosphingolipids (GSLs) are membrane components consisting of hydrophobic ceramide and hydrophilic sugar moieties. GSLs cluster with cholesterol in cell membranes to form GSL-enriched lipid rafts. Biochemical analyses have demonstrated that GSL-enriched lipid rafts contain several kinds of transducer molecules, including Src family kinases. Among the GSLs, lactosylceramide (LacCer, CDw17) can bind to various microorganisms, is highly expressed on the plasma membranes of human phagocytes, and forms lipid rafts containing the Src family tyrosine kinase Lyn. LacCer-enriched lipid rafts mediate immunological and inflammatory reactions, including superoxide generation, chemotaxis, and non-opsonic phagocytosis. Therefore, LacCer-enriched membrane microdomains are thought to function as pattern recognition receptors (PRRs), which recognize pathogen-associated molecular patterns (PAMPs) expressed on microorganisms. LacCer also serves as a signal transduction molecule for functions mediated by CD11b/CD18-integrin (αM/β2-integrin, CR3, Mac-1), as well as being associated with several key cellular processes. LacCer recruits PCKα/ε and phospholipase A2 to stimulate PECAM-1 expression in human monocytes and their adhesion to endothelial cells, as well as regulating β1-integrin clustering and endocytosis on cell surfaces. This review describes the organizational and inflammation-related functions of LacCer-enriched lipid rafts.