Mitochondria contain enzymes of respiration, energy production and various other metabolic processes. Little is known, however, about the role of lipids in the biogenesis, function and maintenance of the integrity of this organelle. We are using the yeast Saccharomyces cerevisiae, to identify novel components which contribute to lipid homeostasis and govern the assembly of lipids in mitochondrial membranes with special emphasis on the role of phosphatidylethanolamine in mitochondrial and cellular function.
During the preceding FWF project 14468 genetic screenings with overlapping strategies detected mutations causing defects in the incorporation of phosphatidylethanolamine into mitochondrial membranes. In the present project these studies will be completed and new screenings employing DNA microarray technology and yeast proteome analysis will be performed. Based on these screenings, a systematic strategy to identify and characterize components involved in the homeostasis of lipids in mitochondria will be employed making use of molecular biological, cell biological and biochemical methods with increasing specificity. Yeast mutants identified in screenings will be subjected to phenotypic and biochemical analysis, and the respective genes will be identified. Strains with abnormal mitochondrial lipid pattern will be characterized in detail, especially with respect to mitochondrial function and morphology, and synthesis and intracellular translocation of lipids.