• Yeast;
  • glycolysis;
  • TCA cycle;
  • sugar metabolism;
  • metabolic engineering;
  • pyruvate decarboxylase;
  • pyruvate carboxylase;
  • pyruvate dehydrogenase complex;
  • alcoholic fermentation;
  • Crabtree effect


In yeasts, pyruvate is located at a major junction of assimilatory and dissimilatory reactions as well as at the branch-point between respiratory dissimilation of sugars and alcoholic fermentation. This review deals with the enzymology, physiological function and regulation of three key reactions occurring at the pyruvate branch-point in the yeast Saccharomyces cerevisiae: (i) the direct oxidative decarboxylation of pyruvate to acetyl-CoA, catalysed by the pyruvate dehydrogenase complex, (ii) decarboxylation of pyruvate to acetaldehyde, catalysed by pyruvate decarboxylase, and (iii) the anaplerotic carboxylation of pyruvate to oxaloacetate, catalysed by pyruvate carboxylase. Special attention is devoted to physiological studies on S. cerevisiae strains in which structural genes encoding these key enzymes have been inactivated by gene disruption.