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Appl Environ Microbiol. 1997 Sep;63(9):3341-4.

Effects of overproduction of the catalytic domain of 3-hydroxy-3-methylglutaryl coenzyme A reductase on squalene synthesis in Saccharomyces cerevisiae.

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Department of Cellular Physiology, Babraham Institute, Cambridge, United Kingdom.


The enzyme 3-hydroxy-3-methylglutaryl coenzyme A (HMG-CoA) reductase (HMG-R) is the major rate-limiting enzyme of the mevalonate pathway in many organisms, including yeasts. In the yeast Saccharomyces cerevisiae, there are two isoenzymes of HMG-R (Hmg1p and Hmg2p). Both consist of an anchoring transmembrane domain and a catalytic domain. We have removed the known controlling features of HMG-R by overproducing the catalytic domain of Hmg1p. This overproduction leads to an enhancement of squalene production, implying that HMG-R has been deregulated. The enhancement is apparent under semianaerobic and aerobic conditions. Despite the increase in squalene production, the amount of ergosterol produced by the HMG-R-overproducing yeast was not increased. This result suggests the presence of another regulatory step between squalene and ergosterol formation. Squalene levels generated by cells overproducing the catalytic domain of HMG-R were estimated to be up to 10 times those produced by wild-type cells. The enhancement in squalene production coincided with a reduction in growth rate. This reduction may be a direct consequence of the buildup of high concentrations of squalene and presqualene intermediates of the pathway.

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