In addition to their crucial role in membrane structure in Saccharomyces cerevisiae, sphingolipids serve vital roles in various aspects of yeast biology including endocytosis, intracellular protein transport and stress responses. Although previous studies have unequivocally demonstrated the sphingolipid requirements for these processes, few studies have contributed mechanistic information. We have used a systems approach including microarray, lipidomics and metabolic modelling to better understand (i) biochemical relationships between various branches of sphingolipid metabolism and pathways and contributing pathways such as fatty acid metabolism and phospholipid synthesis, (ii) the changes in cellular sphingolipid composition under various conditions and (iii) the effects of these changes on the transcriptional profiles and subsequently, cell phenotypes. Thus far, these approaches have indicated roles for sphingolipids in major transcriptional changes in response to heat stress, carbon source utilization, sporulation, cell wall integrity and other basic cellular functions. Although the yeast genome is fully sequenced, nearly 50% of all transcribed open reading frames remain uncharacterized with regard to cellular function; therefore, a major advantage of this approach is the ability to identify both biochemical and biological roles for enzymes and their products within broad cellular contexts.

You do not currently have access to this content.