The phenotype of a dihydrofolate reductase mutant of Saccharomyces cerevisiae

Gene. 1992 Nov 2;121(1):167-71. doi: 10.1016/0378-1119(92)90177-q.


We have constructed a dihydrofolate reductase mutant (dfr1) of Saccharomyces cerevisiae. The mutant has auxotrophic growth requirements for the C1 metabolites dTMP, adenine, histidine and methionine, similar to those of wild-type (wt) strains grown in the presence of methotrexate (MTX). However, unlike wt strains treated with MTX, the growth requirements of the dfr1 mutant are not satisfied by exogenous 5-formyltetrahydrofolic acid (FA; folinic acid) in complex (YEPD) medium. This result is surprising, as yeast cells treated with MTX are expected to be phenocopies of dfr1 mutants. The inability of the mutants to metabolize FA suggests that the DFR1 gene product may have a role in folate metabolism in addition to its well-characterized function in the reduction of dihydrofolate. From dfr1 strains, we have isolated secondary mutants whose growth can be supported by FA in YEPD medium. This FA-utilizing phenotype is attributable to recessive mutations which we have designated fou. In addition to their inability to metabolize FA, the dfr1 strains are unable to grow on medium containing the non-fermentable carbon source glycerol, suggesting that the DFR1 gene product is also required for mitochondrial function. In order to overcome this lack of respiratory activity in the dfr1 mutants, we isolated strains containing a dominant mutation, DIR, which allows growth on glycerol in the presence of antifolate drugs. When crossed into dfr1 strains, the DIR mutation conferred respiratory competence. These strains should be useful in a variety of studies on the genetics and biochemistry of folate metabolism in this simple eukaryote.

MeSH terms

  • Leucovorin / metabolism
  • Phenotype
  • Saccharomyces cerevisiae / enzymology*
  • Saccharomyces cerevisiae / genetics
  • Saccharomyces cerevisiae / growth & development
  • Saccharomyces cerevisiae / metabolism
  • Tetrahydrofolate Dehydrogenase / genetics*


  • Tetrahydrofolate Dehydrogenase
  • Leucovorin