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Comparative and Functional Genomics
Volume 2 (2001), Issue 5, Pages 289-294
Short Communication

Sphingoid Base Metabolism in Yeast: Mapping Gene Expression Patterns Into Qualitative Metabolite Time Course Predictions

Department of Epidemiology and Biostatistics BRB G-19, Case Western Reserve University, Cleveland, OH 44106, USA

Received 8 July 2001; Accepted 13 August 2001

Copyright © 2001 Hindawi Publishing Corporation. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.


Can qualitative metabolite time course predictions be inferred from measured mRNA expression patterns? Speaking against this possibility is the large number of ‘decoupling’ control points that lie between these variables, i.e. translation, protein degradation, enzyme inhibition and enzyme activation. Speaking for it is the notion that these control points might be coordinately regulated such that action exerted on the mRNA level is informative of action exerted on the protein and metabolite levels. A simple kinetic model of sphingoid base metabolism in yeast is postulated. When the enzyme activities in this model are modulated proportional to mRNA expression levels measured in heat shocked yeast, the model yields a transient rise and fall in sphingoid bases followed by a permanent rise in ceramide. This finding is in qualitative agreement with experiments and is thus consistent with the aforementioned coordinated control system hypothesis.