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J Biol Chem. 2002 Feb 22;277(8):6478-82. Epub 2001 Dec 10.

Storage lipid synthesis is non-essential in yeast.

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Department of Crop Science, Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences, Box 44, S-230 53 Alnarp, Sweden.


Steryl esters and triacylglycerol (TAG) are the main storage lipids in eukaryotic cells. In the yeast Saccharomyces cerevisiae, these storage lipids accumulate during stationary growth phase within organelles known as lipid bodies. We have used single and multiple gene disruptions to study storage lipid synthesis in yeast. Four genes, ARE1, ARE2, DGA1, and LRO1, were found to contribute to TAG synthesis. The most significant contribution is made by DGA1, which encodes a novel acyl-CoA:diacylglycerol acyltransferase. Two of the genes, ARE1 and ARE2, are also involved in steryl ester synthesis. A yeast strain that lacks all four genes is viable and has no apparent growth defects under standard conditions. The strain is devoid of both TAG and steryl esters, and fluorescence microscopy revealed that it also lacks lipid bodies. We conclude that neither storage lipids nor lipid bodies are essential for growth in yeast.

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