Sphingolipids are highly enriched in the outer leaflet of the plasma membrane lipid bilayer. However, the first glycolipid, glucosylceramide, is synthesized in the opposite, cytosolic leaflet of the Golgi membrane. This has led us to experiments which suggest that the level of glucosylceramide in the cytosolic surface is carefully regulated both by the balance between synthesis and hydrolysis and by transport away from this surface through translocators, multidrug transporters, the same molecules that make cancer cells resistant to chemotherapy. Our data suggest a role for newly synthesized glucosylceramide not only in the formation of domains in the luminal leaflet of the Golgi but also on the cytosolic surface of this organelle.

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