Cyanide-resistant respiration, a very frequent metabolic pathway in yeasts

FEMS Yeast Res. 2003 May;3(3):239-45. doi: 10.1016/S1567-1356(03)00036-9.


It has recently been shown that cyanide-resistant respiration (CRR) is very common in Crabtree-negative yeasts (incapable of aerobic fermentation) and in non-fermentative yeasts. It is conferred by a salicylhydroxamic acid-sensitive alternative oxidase that transfers electrons from ubiquinol to oxygen, bypassing the cytochrome chain. An interesting finding is that, in general, whenever CRR is present, complex I is also present. In this article we briefly review the occurrence of CRR, the biochemistry and molecular biology of the alternative oxidase, and summarise the putative functions that have been attributed to this ubiquitous metabolic pathway, whose usefulness for the yeast cells still remains obscure.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Cell Respiration
  • Cyanides / metabolism
  • Cyanides / pharmacology*
  • Drug Resistance, Fungal
  • Mitochondrial Proteins
  • Models, Biological
  • Oxidoreductases / genetics
  • Oxidoreductases / metabolism*
  • Oxidoreductases / pharmacology
  • Plant Proteins
  • Yeasts / drug effects
  • Yeasts / enzymology
  • Yeasts / metabolism*


  • Cyanides
  • Mitochondrial Proteins
  • Plant Proteins
  • Oxidoreductases
  • alternative oxidase