Metabolism and selected functions of sphingolipids in the yeast Saccharomyces cerevisiae

Robert C. Dickson, Robert L. Lester

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

130 Scopus citations


Our knowledge of sphingolipid metabolism and function in Saccharomyces cerevisiae is growing rapidly. Here we discuss the current status of sphingolipid metabolism including recent evidence suggesting that exogenous sphingoid long-chain bases must first be phosphorylated and then dephosphorylated before incorporation into ceramide. Phenotypes of strains defective in sphingolipid metabolism are discussed because they provide hints about the undiscovered functions of sphingolipids and are one of the major reasons for studying this model eukaryote. The long-chain base phosphates, dihydrosphingosine-1-phosphate and phytosphingosine-1-phosphate, have been hypothesized to play roles in heat stress resistance, perhaps acting as signaling molecules. We evaluate the data supporting this hypothesis and suggest future experiments needed to verify it. Finally, we discuss recent clues that may help to reveal how sphingolipid synthesis and total cellular sphingolipid content are regulated. Copyright (C) 1999 Elsevier Science B.V.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)305-321
Number of pages17
JournalBiochimica et Biophysica Acta - Molecular and Cell Biology of Lipids
Issue number3
StatePublished - Jun 10 1999

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
Our research has been supported by Grant GM43102 form the US Public Health Service. We greatly appreciate the effort of our laboratory colleagues, particularly Gerald Wells, Dr. Marek Nagiec and Dr. Marek Skrzypek, who have helped to advance our understanding of sphingolipids in S. cerevisiae.


  • Ceramide
  • Heat shock
  • Long-chain base phosphate
  • Phenotype
  • Suppressor gene

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Molecular Biology
  • Cell Biology


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