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Biochimie. 2007 Feb;89(2):243-8. Epub 2006 Aug 7.

Dynamics of neutral lipid storage and mobilization in yeast.

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Institute of Biochemistry, Graz University of Technology, Petersgasse 12/2, 8010 Graz, Austria.


We make use of the yeast Saccharomyces cerevisiae as a flexible experimental system to investigate coordinate pathways of neutral lipid synthesis, storage and mobilization with special emphasis on the role of different organelles in these processes. Recently, a number of new gene products involved in triacylglycerol (TAG) and steryl ester (STE) metabolism were identified in our laboratory and by other groups. STE are synthesized by the two STE synthases Are1p and Are2p, whereas TAG are formed mainly through the action of the two TAG synthases Dga1p and Lro1p with minor contributions of Are1p and Are2p. Once formed, TAG and STE are stored in so-called lipid particles. A dga1Deltalro1Deltaare1Deltaare2Delta quadruple mutant which lacks neutral lipid synthesis and is consequently devoid of lipid particles turned out to be a valuable tool for studying the physiological role of storage lipids and lipid particles. Mobilization of neutral lipid depots occurs through catalysis of TAG lipases and STE hydrolases. Three TAG lipases named Tgl3p, Tgl4p and Tgl5p, and three STE hydrolases named Tgl1p, Yeh1p and Yeh2p were recently identified at the molecular level. Although these hydrolases exhibit overlapping function within the enzyme families, they are specific for TAG and STE, respectively. With the exception of Dga1p, whose activity is partially localized to lipid particles, TAG and STE forming enzymes are restricted to the endoplasmic reticulum. TAG lipases and STE hydrolases are components of lipid particles with the exception of Yeh2p, which is plasma membrane located. Thus, neutral lipid metabolism is not only regulated at the enzyme level but also by the distribution of the components to organelles. The fact that neutral lipid homeostasis is linked to a number of cell biological processes confirms the important role of this class of lipids as cellular modulators or effectors.

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