Sphingolipids as Signaling and Regulatory Molecules

Volume 688 of the series Advances in Experimental Medicine and Biology pp 217-231

Roles for Sphingolipids in Saccharomyces cerevisiae

  • Robert C. DicksonAffiliated withDepartment of Molecular and Cellular Biochemistry and the Lucille P. Markey Cancer Center, University of Kentucky College of Medicine

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Studies using Saccharomyces cerevisiae, the common baker’s or brewer’s yeast, have progressed over the past twenty years from knowing which sphingolipids are present in cells and a basic outline of how they are made to a complete or nearly complete directory of the genes that catalyze their anabolism and catabolism. In addition, cellular processes that depend upon sphingolipids have been identified including protein trafficking/exocytosis, endocytosis and actin cytoskeleton dynamics, membrane microdomains, calcium signaling, regulation of transcription and translation, cell cycle control, stress resistance, nutrient uptake and aging. These will be summarized here along with new data not previously reviewed. Advances in our knowledge of sphingolipids and their roles in yeast are impressive but molecular mechanisms remain elusive and are a primary challenge for further progress in understanding the specific functions of sphingolipids.