Wild-type Saccharomyces cerevisiae do not accumulate exogenous sterols under aerobic conditions, and a mutant allele conferring sterol auxotrophy (erg7) could be isolated only in strains with a heme deficiency. delta-Aminolevulinic acid (ALA) fed to a hem1 (ALA synthetase-) erg7 (2,3-oxidosqualene cyclase-) sterol-auxotrophic strain of S. cerevisiae inhibited sterol uptake, and growth was negatively affected when intracellular sterol was depleted. The inhibition of sterol uptake (and growth of sterol auxotrophs) by ALA was dependent on the ability to synthesize heme from ALA. A procedure was developed which allowed selection of strains which would take up exogenous sterols but had no apparent defect in heme or ergosterol biosynthesis. One of these sterol uptake control mutants possessed an allele which allowed phenotypic expression of sterol auxotrophy in a heme-competent background.
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