On the role of the sterol hydroxyl group in membranes

A K Lala, T M Buttke, K Bloch
1979 Journal of Biological Chemistry  
The adequacy of sterol derivatives containing a blocked 3-hydroxyl group for sustaining the growth of two sterol auxotrophs has been investigated. Mycoplasma capricolum, a cholesterol-requiring bacterium, grows nearly as well on media supplemented with cholesteryl methyl ether or cholesteryl acetate as on free cholesterol. The two derivatives are recovered unchanged from the bacterial cells. Similarly, cholesteryl methyl ether or ergosteryl methyl ether replace cholesterol or ergosterol as
more » ... l sources for a yeast mutant, strain GL7, defective in 2,3-oxidosqualene-lanosterol cyclization. During aerobic or semianaerobic growth, yeast cells demethylate some of the cholesteryl methyl ether to free cholesterol. However, cells growing on cholesterol methyl ether under strict anaerobic conditions do not produce free sterol. The bearing of these results on the postulated requirement of a free sterol hydroxyl group for membrane function is discussed. Sterol esterification does not appear to be essential for the two microbial systems.
pmid:387751 fatcat:mjtpxo4wlrfk3kvwvpxnkpuyoq