Faculty Research 1970 - 1979


Metabolic interconversion of free sterols and steryl esters in Saccharomyces cerevisiae.

Document Type


Publication Date



Anaerobiosis, Azacosterol, Ergosterol: me, Esters, Saccharomyces-Cerevisiae: gd, me, Sterols: me, SUPPORT-U-S-GOVT-P-H-S

JAX Source

J-Bacteriol. 1978 Nov; 136(2):531-7.


The interconversion of free and esterified sterols was followed radioisotopically with [U-14C]acetate and [methyl-14C]methionine. In pulse-chase experiments, radioactivity first appeared mainly in unesterified sterols in exponential-phase cells. Within one generation time, the label equilibrated between the free and esterified sterol pools and subsequently accumulated in steryl esters in stationary-phase cells. When the sterol pools were prelabeled by growing cells aerobically to the stationary phase and the cells were diluted into unlabeled medium, the prelabeled steryl esters returned to the free sterol form under several conditions. (i) During aerobic growth, the prelabeled sterols decreased from 80% to 45% esters in the early exponential phase and then returned to 80% esters as the culture reached the stationary phase. (ii) Under anaerobic conditions, the percentage of prelabeled steryl esters declined continuously. When growth stopped, only 15% of the sterols remained esterified. (iii) In the presence of an inhibitor of sterol biosynthesis, which causes accumulation of a precursor to ergosterol, prelabeled sterols decreased to 40% steryl esters while the precursor was found preferentially in the esterified form. These results indicate that the bulk of the free sterol and steryl ester pools are freely interconvertible, with the steryl esters serving as a supply of free sterols. Furthermore, there is an active cellular control over what types of sterol are found in the free and esterified sterol pools.

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