Lipid droplets accumulation and other biochemical changes induced in the fungal pathogen Ustilago maydis under nitrogen-starvation

Lucero Romero Aguilar, Juan Pablo Pardo, Mónica Montero Lomelí, Oscar Ivan Luqueño Bocardo, Marco A. Juárez Oropeza, Guadalupe Guerra Sánchez

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17 Scopus citations


© 2017, Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg. In many organisms, the growth under nitrogen-deprivation or a poor nitrogen source impacts on the carbon flow distribution and causes accumulation of neutral lipids, which are stored as lipid droplets (LDs). Efforts are in progress to find the mechanism of LDs synthesis and degradation, and new organisms capable of accumulating large amounts of lipids for biotechnological applications. In this context, when Ustilago maydis was cultured in the absence of a nitrogen source, there was a large accumulation of lipid bodies containing mainly triacylglycerols. The most abundant fatty acids in lipid bodies at the stationary phase were palmitic, linoleic, and oleic acids, and they were synthesized de novo by the fatty-acid synthase. In regard to the production of NADPH for the synthesis of fatty acids, the cytosolic NADP+-dependent isocitrate dehydrogenase and the glucose-6-phosphate and 6-phosphogluconate dehydrogenases couple showed the highest specific activities, with a lower activity of the malic enzyme. The ATP-citrate lyase activity was not detected in any of the culture conditions, which points to a different mechanism for the transfer of acetyl-CoA into the cytosol. Protein and RNA contents decreased when U. maydis was grown without a nitrogen source. Due to the significant accumulation of triacylglycerols and the particular composition of fatty acids, U. maydis can be considered an alternative model for biotechnological applications.
Original languageAmerican English
Pages (from-to)1195-1209
Number of pages1074
JournalArchives of Microbiology
StatePublished - 1 Oct 2017


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