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Mol Cell Biol. Sep 1988; 8(9): 3797–3808.
PMCID: PMC365438

Structural and functional conservation between yeast and human 3-hydroxy-3-methylglutaryl coenzyme A reductases, the rate-limiting enzyme of sterol biosynthesis.


The pathway of sterol biosynthesis is highly conserved in all eucaryotic cells. We demonstrated structural and functional conservation of the rate-limiting enzyme of the mammalian pathway, 3-hydroxy-3-methyl-glutaryl coenzyme A reductase (HMG-CoA reductase), between the yeast Saccharomyces cerevisiae and humans. The amino acid sequence of the two yeast HMG-CoA reductase isozymes was deduced from DNA sequence analysis of the HMG1 and HMG2 genes. Extensive sequence similarity existed between the region of the mammalian enzyme encoding the active site and the corresponding region of the two yeast isozymes. Moreover, each of the yeast isozymes, like the mammalian enzyme, contained seven potential membrane-spanning domains in the NH2-terminal region of the protein. Expression of cDNA clones encoding either hamster or human HMG-CoA reductase rescued the viability of hmg1 hmg2 yeast cells lacking this enzyme. Thus, mammalian HMG-CoA reductase can provide sufficient catalytic function to replace both yeast isozymes in vivo. The availability of yeast cells whose growth depends on human HMG-CoA reductase may provide a microbial screen to identify new drugs that can modulate cholesterol biosynthesis.

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Selected References

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