Central carbon metabolism of Saccharomyces cerevisiae explored by biosynthetic fractional 13C labeling of common amino acids

Hannu Maaheimo, Jocelyne Fiaux, Z. Petek Çakar, James E. Bailey, Uwe Sauer, Thomas Szyperski*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

152 Citations (Scopus)


Aerobic and anaerobic central metabolism of Saccharomyces cerevisiae cells was explored in batch cultures on a minimal medium containing glucose as the sole carbon source, using biosynthetic fractional 13C labeling of proteinogenic amino acids. This allowed, firstly, unravelling of the network of active central pathways in cytosol and mitochondria, secondly, determination of flux ratios characterizing glycolysis, pentose phosphate cycle, tricarboxylic acid cycle and Cl-metabolism, and thirdly, assessment of intercompartmental transport fluxes of pyruvate, acetyl-CoA, oxaloacetate and glycine. The data also revealed that alanine aminotransferase is located in the mitochondria, and that amino acids are synthesized according to documented pathways. In both the aerobic and the anaerobic regime: (a) the mitochondrial glycine cleavage pathway is active, and efflux of glycine into the cytosol is observed; (b) the pentose phosphate pathways serve for biosynthesis only, i.e. phosphoenolpyruvate is entirely generated via glycolysis; (c) the majority of the cytosolic oxaloacetate is synthesized via anaplerotic carboxylation of pyruvate; (d) the malic enzyme plays a key role for mitochondrial pyruvate metabolism; (e) the transfer of oxaloacetate from the cytosol to the mitochondria is largely unidirectional, and the activity of the malate-aspartate shuttle and the succinate-fumarate carrier is low; (e) a large fraction of the mitochondrial pyruvate is imported from the cytosol; and (f) the glyoxylate cycle is inactive. In the aerobic regime, 75% of mitochondrial oxaloacetate arises from anaplerotic carboxylation of pyruvate, while in the anaerobic regime, the tricarboxylic acid cycle is operating in a branched fashion to fulfill biosynthetic demands only. The present study shows that fractional 13C labeling of amino acids represents a powerful approach to study compartmented eukaryotic systems.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)2464-2479
Number of pages16
JournalEuropean Journal of Biochemistry
Issue number8
Publication statusPublished - 2001
Externally publishedYes


  • C NMR
  • Central metabolism
  • Metabolic engineering
  • Saccharomyces cerevisiae


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