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Identification and characterization of genes encoding phospholipid biosynthetic enzymes of {\it Saccharomyces cerevisiae\/}

[email protected] Texas Medical Center
Publication Date
  • Biology
  • Molecular|Biology
  • Genetics|Biology
  • Cell|Chemistry
  • Biochemistry
  • Chemistry
  • Medicine


Phospholipids are the major component of cellular membranes. In addition to its structural role, phospholipids play an active and diverse role in cellular processes. The goal of this study is to identify the genes involved in phospholipid biosynthesis in a model eukaryotic system, Saccharomyces cerevisiae. We have focused on the biosynthetic steps localized in the inner mitochondrial membrane; hence, the identification of the genes encoding phosphatidylserine decarboxylase (PSD1), cardiolipin synthase (CLS1), and phosphatidylglycerophosphate synthase (PGS1).^ The PSD1 gene encoding a phosphatidylserine decarboxylase was cloned by complementation of a conditional lethal mutation in the homologous gene in Escherichia coli strain EH150. Overexpression of the PSD1 gene in wild type yeast resulted in 20-fold amplification of phosphatidylserine decarboxylase activity. Disruption of the PSD1 gene resulted in 20-fold reduction of decarboxylase activity, but the PSD1 null mutant exhibited essentially normal phenotype. These results suggest that yeast has a second phosphatidylserine decarboxylation activity.^ Cardiolipin is the major anionic phospholipid of the inner mitochondrial membrane. It is thought to be an essential component of many biochemical functions. In eukaryotic cells, cardiolipin synthase catalyzes the final step in the synthesis of cardiolipin from phosphatidylglycerol and CDP-diacylglycerol. We have cloned the gene CLS1. Overexpression of the CLS1 gene product resulted in significantly elevated cardiolipin synthase activity, and disruption of the CLS1 gene, confirmed by PCR and Southern blot analysis, resulted in a null mutant that was viable and showed no petite phenotype. However, phospholipid analysis showed undetectable cardiolipin level and an accumulation of phosphatidylglycerol. These results support the conclusion that CLS1 encodes the cardiolipin synthase of yeast and that normal levels of cardiolipin are not absolutely essential for survival of the cell.^ Phosphatidylglycerophosphate (PGP) synthase catalyzes the synthesis of PGP from CDP-diacylglycerol and glycerol-3-phosphate and functions as the committal and rate limiting step in the biosynthesis of cardiolipin. We have identified the PGS1 gene as encoding the PGP synthase. Overexpression of the PGS1 gene product resulted in over 15-fold increase in in vitro PGP synthase activity. Disruption of the PGS1 gene in a haploid strain of yeast, confirmed by Southern blot analysis, resulted in a null mutant strain that was viable but had significantly altered phenotypes, i.e. inability to grow on glycerol and at $37\sp\circ$C. These cells showed over a 10-fold decrease in PGP synthase activity and a decrease in both phosphatidylglycerol and cardiolipin levels. These results support the conclusion that PGS1 encodes the PGP synthase of yeast and that neither phosphatidylglycerol nor cardiolipin are absolutely essential for survival of the cell. ^

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