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J Biol Chem. 2001 Mar 16;276(11):8574-81. Epub 2000 Oct 30.

Role for de novo sphingoid base biosynthesis in the heat-induced transient cell cycle arrest of Saccharomyces cerevisiae.

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  • 1Department of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology, Medical University of South Carolina, Charleston, South Carolina 29482, USA.


The recent findings of sphingolipids as potential mediators of yeast heat stress responses led us to investigate their possible role in the heat-induced cell cycle arrest and subsequent recovery. The sphingolipid-deficient yeast strain 7R4 was found to lack the cell cycle arrest seen in the isogenic wild type. Furthermore, strain lcb1-100, which harbors a temperature-sensitive serine palmitoyltransferase, lacked increased de novo generated sphingoid bases upon heat stress. Importantly, this strain was found to lack the transient heat-induced G0/G1 arrest. These results indicate a role for sphingolipids and specifically those generated in the de novo pathway in the cell cycle arrest response to heat. To determine the bioactive sphingolipid regulating this response, an analysis of key mutants in the sphingolipid biosynthetic and degradation pathways was performed. Strains deleted in sphingoid base kinases, sphingoid phosphate phosphatase, lyase, or dihydrosphingosine hydroxylase were found to display the cell cycle arrest. Also, the knockout of a fatty acyl elongation enzyme, which severely attenuates ceramide production, displayed the arrest. These experiments suggested that the active species for cell cycle arrest were the sphingoid bases. In further support of these findings, exogenous phytosphingosine (10 microM) was found to induce transient arrest. Stearylamine did not induce an arrest, demonstrating chemical specificity, and L-erythro- was not as potent as D-erythro-dihydrosphingosine showing stereospecificity. To investigate a possible arrest mechanism, we studied the hyperstable Cln3 (Cln3-1) strain LDW6A that has been previously shown to be resistant to heat stress-induced cell cycle arrest. The strain containing Cln3-1 was found to be resistant to cell cycle arrest induced by exogenous phytosphingosine, indicating that Cln3 acts downstream of the sphingoid bases in this response. Interestingly, cell cycle recovery from the transient arrest was found to be dependent upon the sphingoid base kinases (LCB4, LCB5). Overall, this combination of genetic and pharmacologic results demonstrates a role for de novo sphingoid base biosynthesis by serine palmitoyltransferase in the transient G0/G1 arrest mediated through Cln3 via a novel mechanism.

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