Regulation of phospholipid synthesis in Saccharomyces cerevisiae by zinc depletion

George M. Carman, Gil Soo Han

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

48 Scopus citations


The synthesis of phospholipids in the yeast Saccharomyces cerevisiae is regulated by zinc, an essential mineral required for growth and metabolism. Cells depleted of zinc contain increased levels of phosphatidylinositol and decreased levels of phosphatidylethanolamine. In addition to the major phospholipids, the levels of the minor phospholipids phosphatidate and diacylglycerol pyrophosphate decrease in the vacuole membrane of zinc-depleted cells. Alterations in phosphatidylinositol and phosphatidylethanolamine can be ascribed to an increase in PIS1-encoded phosphatidylinositol synthase activity and to decreases in the activities of CDP-diacylglycerol pathway enzymes including the CHO1-encoded phosphatidylserine synthase, respectively. Alterations in the minor vacuole membrane phospholipids are due to the induction of the DPP1-encoded diacylglycerol pyrophosphate phosphatase. These changes in the activities of phospholipid biosynthetic enzymes result from differential regulation of gene expression at the level of transcription. Under zinc-deplete conditions, the positive transcription factor Zap1p stimulates the expression of the DPP1 and PIS1 genes through the cis-acting element UASZRE. In contrast, the negative regulatory protein Opi1p, which is involved in inositol-mediated regulation of phospholipid synthesis, represses the expression of the CHO1 gene through the cis-acting element UASINO. Regulation of phospholipid synthesis may provide an important mechanism by which cells cope with the stress of zinc depletion, given the roles that phospholipids play in the structure and function of cellular membranes.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)322-330
Number of pages9
JournalBiochimica et Biophysica Acta - Molecular and Cell Biology of Lipids
Issue number3
StatePublished - Mar 2007

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Molecular Biology
  • Cell Biology


  • Phosphatidylinositol synthase
  • Phosphatidylserine synthase
  • Phospholipid synthesis
  • Transcriptional regulation
  • Yeast
  • Zinc


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