Background: The yeast Saccharomyces cerevisiae is able to adjust to external oxygen availability by utilizing both respirative and fermentative metabolic modes. Adjusting the metabolic mode involves alteration of the intracellular metabolic fluxes that are determined by the cell's multilevel regulatory network. Oxygen is a major determinant of the physiology of S. cerevisiae but understanding of the oxygen dependence of intracellular flux distributions is still scarce. Results: Metabolic flux distributions of S. cerevisiae CEN.PK113-1A growing in glucose-limited chemostat cultures at a dilution rate of 0.1 h-1 with 20.9%, 2.8%, 1.0%, 0.5% or 0.0% O2 in the inlet gas were quantified by 13C-MFA. Metabolic flux ratios from fractional [U-13C]glucose labelling experiments were used to solve the underdetermined MFA system of central carbon metabolism of S. cerevisiae. While ethanol production was observed already in 2.8% oxygen, only minor differences in the flux distribution were observed, compared to fully aerobic conditions. However, in 1.0% and 0.5% oxygen the respiratory rate was severely restricted, resulting in progressively reduced fluxes through the TCA cycle and the direction of major fluxes to the fermentative pathway. A redistribution of fluxes was observed in all branching points of central carbon metabolism. Yet only when oxygen provision was reduced to 0.5%, was the biomass yield exceeded by the yields of ethanol and CO2. Respirative ATP generation provided 59% of the ATP demand in fully aerobic conditions and still a substantial 25% in 0.5% oxygenation. An extensive redistribution of fluxes was observed in anaerobic conditions compared to all the aerobic conditions. Positive correlation between the transcriptional levels of metabolic enzymes and the corresponding fluxes in the different oxygenation conditions was found only in the respirative pathway. Conclusion: 13C-constrained MFA enabled quantitative determination of intracellular fluxes in conditions of different redox challenges without including redox cofactors in metabolite mass balances. A redistribution of fluxes was observed not only for respirative, respiro-fermentative and fermentative metabolisms, but also for cells grown with 2.8%, 1.0% and 0.5% oxygen. Although the cellular metabolism was respiro-fermentative in each of these low oxygen conditions, the actual amount of oxygen available resulted in different contributions through respirative and fermentative pathways.
- Saccharomyces cerevisiae
- metabolic flux analysis