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Appl Environ Microbiol. 2004 Jul;70(7):3918-24.

Lipid accumulation, lipid body formation, and acyl coenzyme A oxidases of the yeast Yarrowia lipolytica.

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Laboratoire de Chimie Biologique, INRA INA-PG CNRS, Centre de Biotechnologie Agro-Industrielle, INRA Centre de Grignon, BP01, F-78850 Thiverval-Grignon, France.


Yarrowia lipolytica contains five acyl-coenzyme A oxidases (Aox), encoded by the POX1 to POX5 genes, that catalyze the limiting step of peroxisomal beta-oxidation. In this study, we analyzed morphological changes of Y. lipolytica growing in an oleic acid medium and the effect of POX deletions on lipid accumulation. Protrusions involved in the uptake of lipid droplets (LDs) from the medium were seen in electron micrographs of the surfaces of wild-type cells grown on oleic acid. The number of protrusions and surface-bound LDs increased during growth, but the sizes of the LDs decreased. The sizes of intracellular lipid bodies (LBs) and their composition depended on the POX genotype. Only a few, small, intracellular LBs were observed in the mutant expressing only Aox4p (Deltapox2 Deltapox3 Deltapox5), but strains expressing either Aox3p or both Aox3p and Aox4p had the same number of LBs as did the wild type. In contrast, strains expressing either Aox2p or both Aox2p and Aox4p formed fewer, but larger, LBs than did the wild type. The size of the LBs increased proportionately with the amount of triacylglycerols in the LBs of the mutants. In summary, Aox2p expression regulates the size of cellular triacylglycerol pools and the size and number of LBs in which these fatty acids accumulate.

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