The catabolism of amino acids to long chain and complex alcohols in Saccharomyces cerevisiae

J Biol Chem. 2003 Mar 7;278(10):8028-34. doi: 10.1074/jbc.M211914200. Epub 2002 Dec 23.


The catabolism of phenylalanine to 2-phenylethanol and of tryptophan to tryptophol were studied by (13)C NMR spectroscopy and gas chromatography-mass spectrometry. Phenylalanine and tryptophan are first deaminated (to 3-phenylpyruvate and 3-indolepyruvate, respectively) and then decarboxylated. This decarboxylation can be effected by any of Pdc1p, Pdc5p, Pdc6p, or Ydr380wp; Ydl080cp has no role in the catabolism of either amino acid. We also report that in leucine catabolism Ydr380wp is the minor decarboxylase. Hence, all amino acid catabolic pathways studied to date use a subtly different spectrum of decarboxylases from the five-membered family that comprises Pdc1p, Pdc5p, Pdc6p, Ydl080cp, and Ydr380wp. Using strains containing all possible combinations of mutations affecting the seven AAD genes (putative aryl alcohol dehydrogenases), five ADH genes, and SFA1, showed that the final step of amino acid catabolism (conversion of an aldehyde to a long chain or complex alcohol) can be accomplished by any one of the ethanol dehydrogenases (Adh1p, Adh2p, Adh3p, Adh4p, Adh5p) or by Sfa1p (formaldehyde dehydrogenase.)

MeSH terms

  • Alcohols / metabolism*
  • Amino Acids / metabolism*
  • Culture Media
  • Gas Chromatography-Mass Spectrometry
  • Magnetic Resonance Spectroscopy
  • Saccharomyces cerevisiae / growth & development
  • Saccharomyces cerevisiae / metabolism*


  • Alcohols
  • Amino Acids
  • Culture Media