Yeast lacking copper-zinc superoxide dismutase (sod1∆) have a number of oxygen-dependent defects, including auxotrophies for lysine and methionine and sensitivity to oxygen. Here we report additional defects in metabolic regulation. Under standard growth conditions with glucose as the carbon source, yeast undergo glucose repression in which mitochondrial respiration is deemphasized, energy is mainly derived from glycolysis, and ethanol is produced. When glucose is depleted, the diauxic shift is activated, in which mitochondrial respiration is reemphasized and stress resistance increases. We find that both of these programs are adversely affected by the lack of Sod1p. Key events in the diauxic shift do not occur and sod1∆ cells do not utilize ethanol and stop growing. The ability to shift to growth on ethanol is gradually lost as time in culture increases. In early stages of culture, sod1∆ cells consume more oxygen and have more mitochondrial mass than wild-type cells, indicating that glucose repression is not fully activated. These changes are at least partially dependent on the activity of the Hap2,3,4,5 complex, as indicated by CYC1-lacZ reporter assays. These changes may indicate a role for superoxide in metabolic signaling and regulation and/or a role for glucose derepression in defense against oxidative stress.
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