Large enrichments in fatty acid 2H/1H ratios distinguish respiration from aerobic fermentation in yeast Saccharomyces cerevisiae. Journal Article uri icon



  • Shifts in the hydrogen stable isotopic composition (2H/1H ratio) of lipids relative to water (lipid/water 2H-fractionation) at natural abundances reflect different sources of the central cellular reductant, NADPH, in bacteria. Here, we demonstrate that lipid/water 2H-fractionation (2εfattyacid/water) can also constrain the relative importance of key NADPH pathways in eukaryotes. We used the metabolically flexible yeast Saccharomyces cerevisiae, a microbial model for respiratory and fermentative metabolism in industry and medicine, to investigate 2εfattyacid/water. In chemostats, fatty acids from glycerol-respiring cells were >550‰ 2H-enriched compared to those from cells aerobically fermenting sugars via overflow metabolism, a hallmark feature in cancer. Faster growth decreased 2H/1H ratios, particularly in glycerol-respiring cells by 200‰. Variations in the activities and kinetic isotope effects among NADP+-reducing enzymes indicate cytosolic NADPH supply as the primary control on 2εfattyacid/water. Contributions of cytosolic isocitrate dehydrogenase (cIDH) to NAPDH production drive large 2H-enrichments with substrate metabolism (cIDH is absent during fermentation but contributes up to 20 percent NAPDH during respiration) and slower growth on glycerol (11 percent more NADPH from cIDH). Shifts in NADPH demand associated with cellular lipid abundance explain smaller 2εfattyacid/water variations (<30‰) with growth rate during fermentation. Consistent with these results, tests of murine liver cells had 2H-enriched lipids from slower-growing, healthy respiring cells relative to fast-growing, fermenting hepatocellular carcinoma. Our findings point to the broad potential of lipid 2H/1H ratios as a passive natural tracker of eukaryotic metabolism with applications to distinguish health and disease, complementing studies that rely on complex isotope-tracer addition methods.

publication date

  • May 14, 2024

has restriction

  • hybrid

Date in CU Experts

  • May 15, 2024 12:42 PM

Full Author List

  • Maloney AE; Kopf SH; Zhang Z; McFarlin J; Nelson DB; Masterson AL; Zhang X

author count

  • 7

Other Profiles

Electronic International Standard Serial Number (EISSN)

  • 1091-6490

Additional Document Info

start page

  • e2310771121


  • 121


  • 20