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Mol Microbiol. 1999 Jan;31(1):373-9.

Cardiolipin synthase expression is essential for growth at elevated temperature and is regulated by factors affecting mitochondrial development.

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Department of Biological Sciences, Wayne State University, Detroit, MI 48202, USA.


Cardiolipin (CL) is a unique dimeric phospholipid localized primarily in the mitochondrial membrane. In eukaryotes, the enzyme CL synthase catalyses the synthesis of CL from two lipid substrates, CDP-diacylglycerol and phosphatidylglycerol. In earlier studies, we reported the purification of CL synthase from Saccharomyces cerevisiae and the cloning of the gene CRD1 (previously called CLS1) that encodes the enzyme. Because CL is an important component of the mitochondrial membrane, knowledge of its regulation will provide insight into the biogenesis of this organelle. To understand how CL synthesis is regulated, we analysed CRD1 expression by Northern blot analysis of RNA extracted from cells under a variety of growth conditions. CRD1 expression is regulated by mitochondrial development factors. CRD1 levels were 7- to 10-fold greater in stationary than in logarithmic growth phase, and threefold greater in wild-type than in rho 0 mutants. Expression was somewhat elevated during growth in glycerol/ethanol versus glucose media. In contrast, CRD1 expression was not regulated by the phospholipid precursors inositol and choline, and was not altered in the regulatory mutants ino2, ino4 and opi1. Mutations in cytochrome oxidase assembly, which led to reduced Crd1p enzyme activity, did not affect CRD1 expression. The crd1 null mutant makes a truncated CRD1 message. Although the null mutant can grow on both fermentable and non-fermentable carbon sources at lower temperatures, it cannot form colonies at 37 degrees C. In conclusion, CRD1 expression is controlled by factors affecting mitochondrial development, but not by the phospholipid precursors inositol and choline. Expression of CRD1 is essential for growth at elevated temperatures, suggesting that either CL or Crd1p is required for an essential cellular function.

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