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Exploring the genetic control of glycolytic oscillations in Saccharomyces Cerevisiae

Thomas Williamson1, Delali Adiamah2, Jean-Marc Schwartz2 and Lubomira Stateva1*

Author affiliations

1 Faculty of Life Sciences, University of Manchester, Manchester, M13 9PT, UK

2 Manchester Institute of Biotechnology, Faculty of Life Sciences, University of Manchester, 131 Princess St, Manchester, M1 7DN, UK

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Citation and License

BMC Systems Biology 2012, 6:108  doi:10.1186/1752-0509-6-108

Published: 24 August 2012



A well known example of oscillatory phenomena is the transient oscillations of glycolytic intermediates in Saccharomyces cerevisiae, their regulation being predominantly investigated by mathematical modeling. To our knowledge there has not been a genetic approach to elucidate the regulatory role of the different enzymes of the glycolytic pathway.


We report that the laboratory strain BY4743 could also be used to investigate this oscillatory phenomenon, which traditionally has been studied using S. cerevisiae X2180. This has enabled us to employ existing isogenic deletion mutants and dissect the roles of isoforms, or subunits of key glycolytic enzymes in glycolytic oscillations. We demonstrate that deletion of TDH3 but not TDH2 and TDH1 (encoding glyceraldehyde-3-phosphate dehydrogenase: GAPDH) abolishes NADH oscillations. While deletion of each of the hexokinase (HK) encoding genes (HXK1 and HXK2) leads to oscillations that are longer lasting with lower amplitude, the effect of HXK2 deletion on the duration of the oscillations is stronger than that of HXK1. Most importantly our results show that the presence of beta (Pfk2) but not that of alpha subunits (Pfk1) of the hetero-octameric enzyme phosphofructokinase (PFK) is necessary to achieve these oscillations. Furthermore, we report that the cAMP-mediated PKA pathway (via some of its components responsible for feedback down-regulation) modulates the activity of glycoytic enzymes thus affecting oscillations. Deletion of both PDE2 (encoding a high affinity cAMP-phosphodiesterase) and IRA2 (encoding a GTPase activating protein- Ras-GAP, responsible for inactivating Ras-GTP) abolished glycolytic oscillations.


The genetic approach to characterising the glycolytic oscillations in yeast has demonstrated differential roles of the two types of subunits of PFK, and the isoforms of GAPDH and HK. Furthermore, it has shown that PDE2 and IRA2, encoding components of the cAMP pathway responsible for negative feedback regulation of PKA, are required for glycolytic oscillations, suggesting an enticing link between these cAMP pathway components and the glycolysis pathway enzymes shown to have the greatest role in glycolytic oscillation. This study suggests that a systematic genetic approach combined with mathematical modelling can advance the study of oscillatory phenomena.

Glycolytic oscillations; Saccharomyces cerevisiae; deletion mutants; cAMP-PKA signal transduction pathway