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Biochim Biophys Acta. 2010 Mar;1801(3):222-9. doi: 10.1016/j.bbalip.2009.12.016. Epub 2010 Jan 6.

Obese and anorexic yeasts: experimental models to understand the metabolic syndrome and lipotoxicity.

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  • 1Institute of Molecular Biosciences, University of Graz, Humboldtstrasse 50/II, A8010 Graz, Austria.


Lipotoxicity is the pathological consequence of lipid overflow in non-adipose tissue, mediated through reactive lipid moieties which may even lead to lipid-induced cell death (lipoapoptosis). This derailment of cellular and organismal fat homeostasis is the consequence of obesity due to continued over-feeding, and contributes substantially to the pathogenesis of insulin resistance, type 2 diabetes mellitus and cardiovascular disease, which are all components of the metabolic syndrome. Now, does yeast, a single-celled eukaryote, ever suffer from the metabolic syndrome and what can we potentially learn from studies in this organism about the underlying molecular mechanism that lead to lipid-associated pathologies in human cells? In this review I will summarize the remarkably conserved metabolic and regulatory processes relevant to establishing cellular energy and lipid homeostasis, as well as recent findings that provide detailed insights into the molecular mechanisms underlying fat-induced cellular malfunction and cell death, with potential implications also for mammalian cells.

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