Phenotypes of sphingolipid-dependent strains of Saccharomyces cerevisiae

J. L. Patton, B. Srinivasan, R. C. Dickson, R. L. Lester

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91 Scopus citations


To study sphingolipid function(s) in Saccharomyces cerevisiae, we have investigated the effects of environmental stress on mutant (SLC) strains (R. C. Dickson, G. B. Wells, A. Schmidt, and R. L. Lester, Mol. Cell. Biol. 10:2176-2181, 1990) that either contain or lack sphingolipids, depending on whether they are cultured with a sphingolipid long-chain base. Strains lacking sphingolipid were unable to grow at low pH, at 37°C, or with high salt concentrations in the medium; these environmental stresses are known to inhibit the growth of some S. cerevisiae strains with a defective plasma membrane H+-ATPase. We found that sphingolipids were essential for proton extrusion at low pH and furthermore found that cells lacking sphingolipid no longer exhibited net proton extrusion at normal pH after a 1-min exposure to pH 3. Cells lacking sphingolipid appeared to rapidly become almost completely permeable to protons at low pH. The deleterious effects of low pH could be partially prevented by 1 M sorbitol in the suspension of cells lacking sphingolipid. Proton extrusion at normal pH (pH 6) was significantly inhibited at 39°C only in cells lacking sphingolipid. Thus, the product of an SLC suppressor gene permits life without sphingolipids only in a limited range of environments. Outside this range, sphingolipids appear to be essential for maintaining proton permeability barriers and/or for proton extrusion.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)7180-7184
Number of pages5
JournalJournal of Bacteriology
Issue number22
StatePublished - 1992

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Microbiology
  • Molecular Biology


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