In the yeast Saccharomyces cerevisiae, complex sphingolipids have three types of polar head group and five types of ceramide; however, the physiological significance of the structural diversity is not fully understood. Here, we report that deletion of vacuolar H+-ATPase (V-ATPase) in yeast causes dramatic alteration of the complex sphingolipid composition, which includes decreases in hydroxylation at the C-4 position of long-chain bases and the C-2 position of fatty acids in the ceramide moiety, decreases in inositol phosphorylceramide (IPC) levels, and increases in mannosylinositol phosphorylceramide (MIPC) and mannosyldiinositol phosphorylceramide [M(IP)2C] levels. V-ATPase-deleted cells exhibited slow growth at pH 7.2, whereas the increase in MIPC levels was significantly enhanced when V-ATPase-deleted cells were incubated at pH 7.2. The protein expression levels of MIPC and M(IP)2C synthases were significantly increased in V-ATPase-deleted cells incubated at pH 7.2. Loss of MIPC synthesis or an increase in the hydroxylation level of the ceramide moiety of sphingolipids on overexpression of Scs7 and Sur2 sphingolipid hydroxylases enhanced the growth defect of V-ATPase-deleted cells at pH 7.2. On the contrary, the growth rate of V-ATPase-deleted cells was moderately increased on the deletion of SCS7 and SUR2. In addition, supersensitivities to Ca2+, Zn2+ and H2O2, which are typical phenotypes of V-ATPase-deleted cells, were enhanced by the loss of MIPC synthesis. These results indicate the possibility that alteration of the complex sphingolipid composition is an adaptation mechanism for a defect of V-ATPase.
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