Farnesyl diphosphate synthase activity affects ergosterol level and proliferation of yeast Saccharomyces cerevisae


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The yeast farnesyl diphosphate synthase (FPPS) gene was engineered so as to construct allelic forms giving various activities of the enzyme. One of the substitutions was F96W in the chain length determination region. The other, K197, conserved within a consensus sequence found in the majority of FPP and GGPP synthases, was substituted by R, E and V. An intricate correlation has been found between the FPPS activity, the amount of ergosterol synthesized and cell growth of a mutant strain defective in FPPS. About 40% of wt FPPS activity was sufficient to support normal growth of the mutant. With further decline of FPPS activity (20 down to 3%) the amount of ergosterol remained unchanged at ∼0.16% (vs dry weight), whereas growth yield decreased and lag times increased. We postulate that, in addition to ergosterol initiating and maintaining growth of yeast cells, FPP and/or its derivatives participate in these processes.