Current Microbiology

, Volume 73, Issue 6, pp 851–858 | Cite as

Energy Storage in Yeast: Regulation and Competition with Ethanol Production

  • Shilpa Jain
  • Hemal Dholakia
  • Winston Kirtley
  • Peter OelkersEmail author


Mechanisms that may regulate the storage of energy as triacylglycerol in Saccharomyces cerevisiae were examined. First, the kinetics of Dga1p, which mediates the majority of diacylglycerol esterification, the lone committed step in triacylglycerol synthesis, was measured in vitro. With an apparent K m of 17.0 μM, Dga1p has higher affinity for oleoyl-CoA than the only S. cerevisiae acyltransferase previously kinetically characterized, Lpt1p. Lpt1p is a 1-acylglycerol-3-phosphate O-acyltransferase that produces phosphatidate, a precursor to diacylglycerol. Therefore, limiting triacylglycerol synthesis to situations of elevated acyl-CoA concentration is unlikely. However, Dga1p’s apparent V max of 5.8 nmol/min/mg was 20 times lower than Lpt1p’s. This supports Dga1p being rate limiting for TAG synthesis. Dga1p activity was not activated or inhibited when seven different molecules (e.g., ATP) which reflect cellular energy status were provided at physiological concentrations. Thus, allosteric regulation was not found. Coordination between triacylglycerol and glycogen synthesis was also tested. Yeast genetically deficient in triacylglycerol synthesis did not store more energy in glycogen and vice versa. Lastly, we tested whether genetically limiting energy storage in triacylglycerol, glycogen, steryl esters, or combinations of these will increase ethanol production efficiency. In nutrient-rich media containing 5 % glucose, solely limiting glycogen synthesis had the greatest affect, increasing ethanol production efficiency by 12 %. Since limiting glycogen synthesis only had a modest effect on growth in media containing 10 % ethanol, such genetic manipulation may improve commercial ethanol production.


Ethanol Production Glycogen Synthesis Ethanol Tolerance Steryl Ester DGAT Activity 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.



Peter oelkers was supported by a Step 2 Grant sponsored by the University of Michigan-Dearborn Office of Research and Sponsored Programs. We thank Eric Pomaranski for performing pilot experiments.

Compliance with Ethical Standards

Conflict of Interest

Silpha Jain contributed to this manuscript, experiments, and writing, while she was a graduate student at Drexel University. She is now employed by Trac Services, a pharmaceutical regulatory consulting company as a senior regulatory affairs executive. No pharmaceuticals were used in this study. There are no other potential conflicts of interest to report.

Research Involving Human and Animal Rights

No human or animal subjects were used in these studies.

Supplementary material

284_2016_1127_MOESM1_ESM.pdf (87 kb)
Supplementary material 1 (PDF 86 kb)


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media New York 2016

Authors and Affiliations

  • Shilpa Jain
    • 1
    • 3
  • Hemal Dholakia
    • 2
  • Winston Kirtley
    • 2
  • Peter Oelkers
    • 2
    Email author
  1. 1.Department of Bioscience and BiotechnologyDrexel UniversityPhiladelphiaUSA
  2. 2.Department of Natural SciencesUniversity of Michigan-DearbornDearbornUSA
  3. 3.Trac Services LtdTruroUK

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