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Biosci Biotechnol Biochem. 1995 Mar;59(3):482-6.

The physiological roles of membrane ergosterol as revealed by the phenotypes of syr1/erg3 null mutant of Saccharomyces cerevisiae.

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Department of Fermentation Technology, Hiroshima University, Japan.


Ergosterol is a major sterol component of fungal plasma membranes. The effects of disrupting the Saccharomyces cerevisiae SYR1/ERG3 gene, which encodes sterol C-5 desaturase, an enzyme of ergosterol biosynthesis pathway, were markedly different for different S. cerevisiae strains and growth temperatures. The null mutation of SYR1 (delta syr1) in strain RAY-3A had only a slight effect on the growth rate at 28 degrees C. However, at this temperature, the same mutation caused poor growth in strain KA-311A and no growth in strain W303-1A. The delta syr1 disruptant of these strains were able to grow at 37 degrees C, as well as their parental strains. Moreover, the growth of the delta syr1 disruptant of W303-1A and KA-311A strains were severely inhibited at 16 degrees C. These results indicated that ergosterol is essential for growth at low temperatures, and the effects of the gene disruption are variable by the genetic background. The growth defect at low temperatures appeared to be due to the defect of tryptophan uptake in the delta syr1 mutants. The delta syr1 mutants were sensitive to a wide variety of drugs, chemicals, and ions, suggesting that yeast ergosterol is important as permeability barrier against various chemical stresses.

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