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FEMS Microbiol Rev. 2014 Sep;38(5):892-915. doi: 10.1111/1574-6976.12069. Epub 2014 Mar 24.

Storage lipids of yeasts: a survey of nonpolar lipid metabolism in Saccharomyces cerevisiae, Pichia pastoris, and Yarrowia lipolytica.

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Institute of Biochemistry, Graz University of Technology, Graz, Austria.


Biosynthesis and storage of nonpolar lipids, such as triacylglycerols (TG) and steryl esters (SE), have gained much interest during the last decades because defects in these processes are related to severe human diseases. The baker's yeast Saccharomyces cerevisiae has become a valuable tool to study eukaryotic lipid metabolism because this single-cell microorganism harbors many enzymes and pathways with counterparts in mammalian cells. In this article, we will review aspects of TG and SE metabolism and turnover in the yeast that have been known for a long time and combine them with new perceptions of nonpolar lipid research. We will provide a detailed insight into the mechanisms of nonpolar lipid synthesis, storage, mobilization, and degradation in the yeast S. cerevisiae. The central role of lipid droplets (LD) in these processes will be addressed with emphasis on the prevailing view that this compartment is more than only a depot for TG and SE. Dynamic and interactive aspects of LD with other organelles will be discussed. Results obtained with S. cerevisiae will be complemented by recent investigations of nonpolar lipid research with Yarrowia lipolytica and Pichia pastoris. Altogether, this review article provides a comprehensive view of nonpolar lipid research in yeast.


acyltransferase; lipase; lipid droplets; steryl esters; triacylglycerols; yeast

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