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J Bacteriol. 1991 March; 173(6): 2026–2034.
PMCID: PMC207737

Phospholipid synthesis and lipid composition of subcellular membranes in the unicellular eukaryote Saccharomyces cerevisiae.


Subcellular membranes of Saccharomyces cerevisiae, including mitochondria, microsomes, plasma membranes, secretory vesicles, vacuoles, nuclear membranes, peroxisomes, and lipid particles, were isolated by improved procedures and analyzed for their lipid composition and their capacity to synthesize phospholipids and to catalyze sterol delta 24-methylation. The microsomal fraction is heterogeneous in terms of density and classical microsomal marker proteins and also with respect to the distribution of phospholipid-synthesizing enzymes. The specific activity of phosphatidylserine synthase was highest in a microsomal subfraction which was distinct from heavier microsomes harboring phosphatidylinositol synthase and the phospholipid N-methyltransferases. The exclusive location of phosphatidylserine decarboxylase in mitochondria was confirmed. CDO-diacylglycerol synthase activity was found both in mitochondria and in microsomal membranes. Highest specific activities of glycerol-3-phosphate acyltransferase and sterol delta 24-methyltransferase were observed in the lipid particle fraction. Nuclear and plasma membranes, vacuoles, and peroxisomes contain only marginal activities of the lipid-synthesizing enzymes analyzed. The plasma membrane and secretory vesicles are enriched in ergosterol and in phosphatidylserine. Lipid particles are characterized by their high content of ergosteryl esters. The rigidity of the plasma membrane and of secretory vesicles, determined by measuring fluorescence anisotropy by using trimethylammonium diphenylhexatriene as a probe, can be attributed to the high content of ergosterol.

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