Yeast lipid metabolism at a glance

FEMS Yeast Res. 2014 May;14(3):369-88. doi: 10.1111/1567-1364.12141. Epub 2014 Mar 5.


During the last decades, lipids have gained much attention due to their involvement in health and disease. Lipids are required for the formation of membranes and contribute to many different processes such as cell signaling, energy supply, and cell death. Various organelles such as the endoplasmic reticulum, mitochondria, peroxisomes, and lipid droplets are involved in lipid metabolism. The yeast Saccharomyces cerevisiae has become a reliable model organism to study biochemistry, molecular biology, and cell biology of lipids. The availability of mutants bearing defects in lipid metabolic pathways and the ease of manipulation by culture conditions facilitated these investigations. Here, we summarize the current knowledge about lipid metabolism in yeast. We grouped this large topic into three sections dealing with (1) fatty acids; (2) membrane lipids; and (3) storage lipids. Fatty acids serve as building blocks for the synthesis of membrane lipids (phospholipids, sphingolipids) and storage lipids (triacylglycerols, steryl esters). Phospholipids, sterols, and sphingolipids are essential components of cellular membranes. Recent investigations addressing lipid synthesis, degradation, and storage as well as regulatory aspects are presented. The role of enzymes governing important steps of the different lipid metabolic pathways is described. Finally, the link between lipid metabolic and dynamic processes is discussed.

Keywords: Saccharomyces cerevisiae; fatty acids; phospholipids; sphingolipids; sterols; triacylglycerols.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Lipid Metabolism*
  • Metabolic Networks and Pathways
  • Saccharomyces cerevisiae / metabolism*