Isolation of mutant Saccharomyces cerevisiae strains that survive without sphingolipids

Robert C. Dickson, Gerald B. Wells, Ann Schmidt, Robert L. Lester

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

67 Scopus citations


Sphingolipids comprise a large, widespread family of complex eucaryotic-membrane constituents of poorly defined function. The yeast Saccharomyces cerevisiae is particularly suited for studies of sphingolipid function because it contains a small number of sphingolipids and is amenable to molecular genetic analysis. Moreover, it is the only eucaryote in which mutants blocked in sphingolipid biosynthesis have been isolated. Beginning with a nonreverting sphingolipid-defective strain that requires the addition of the long-chain-base component of sphingolipids to the culture medium for growth, we isolated two strains carrying secondary, suppressor mutations that permit survival in the absence of exogenous long-chain base. Remarkably, the suppressor strains made little if any sphingolipid. A study of how the suppressor gene products compensate for the lack of sphingolipids may reveal the function(s) of these membrane lipids in yeast cells.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)2176-2181
Number of pages6
JournalMolecular and Cellular Biology
Issue number5
StatePublished - 1990

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Molecular Biology
  • Cell Biology


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