Comparative Physiology of Oleaginous Species from the Yarrowia Clade
Yarrowia lipolytica is a genetically tractable yeast species that has become an attractive model for analyses of lipid metabolism, due to its oleaginous nature. We investigated the regulation and evolution of lipid metabolism in non-Saccharomycetaceae yeasts, by carrying out a comparative physiological analysis of eight species recently assigned to the Yarrowia clade: Candida alimentaria, Y. deformans, C. galli, C. hispaniensis, C. hollandica, C. oslonensis, C. phangngensis and Y. yakushimensis. We compared the abilities of type strains of these species to grow on 31 non hydrophobic (sugars and other carbohydrate compounds) and 13 hydrophobic (triglycerides, alkanes and free fatty acids) carbon sources. Limited phenotypic diversity was observed in terms of the range of substrates used and, in the case of short-chain fatty acids, their toxicity. We assessed the oleaginous nature of these species, by evaluating their ability to store and to synthesize lipids. The mean lipid content of cells grown on oleic acid differed considerably between species, ranging from 30% of cell dry weight in C. oslonensis to 67% in C. hispaniensis. Lipid synthesis in cells grown on glucose resulted in the accumulation of C18:1 (n-9) as the major compound in most species, except for C. alimentaria and Y. yakushimensis, which accumulated principally C18:2(n-6), and C. hispaniensis, which accumulated both C16:0 and C18:1(n-9). Thus, all species of the clade were oleaginous, but they presented specific patterns of growth, lipid synthesis and storage, and therefore constitute good models for the comparative analysis of lipid metabolism in this basal yeast clade.