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Biochim Biophys Acta. 2002 Dec 30;1585(2-3):163-71.

Yeast sphingolipids: metabolism and biology.

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Ralph H. Johnson Veterans Affairs Medical Center, Charleston, SC, USA.


Sphingolipids have recently emerged as important bioactive molecules in addition to being critical structural components of cellular membranes. These molecules have been implicated in regulating cell growth, differentiation, angiogenesis, apoptosis, and senescene. To study sphingolipid mediated biology, it is necessary to investigate sphingolipid metabolism and its regulation. The yeast Saccharomyces cerevisiae has allowed such studies to take place as the sphingolipid metabolic and regulatory pathways appear conserved across species. Using yeast genetic approaches most enzymes of sphingolipid metabolism have been identified and cloned which has led to identification of their mammalian homologues. Many of the yeast enzymes are targets of fungal toxins thus underscoring the importance of this pathway in yeast cell regulation. This review focuses on the yeast sphingolipid metabolic pathway and its role in regulation of yeast biology. Implication of the insights gained from yeast to mammalian cell regulation are discussed.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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