- Valproate (VPA) is a widely used mood stabilizer, but its therapeutic mechanism of action is not understood. This knowledge gap hinders the development of more effective drugs with fewer side effects. Using the yeast model to elucidate the effects of VPA on cellular metabolism, we determined that the drug upregulated expression of genes normally repressed during logarithmic growth on glucose medium and increased levels of activated (phosphorylated) Snf1 kinase, the major metabolic regulator of these genes.
- Cardiolipin (CL) is the signature phospholipid of mitochondrial membranes. Although it has long been known that CL plays an important role in mitochondrial bioenergetics, recent evidence in the yeast model indicates that CL is also essential for intermediary metabolism. To gain insight into the function of CL in energy metabolism in mammalian cells, here we analyzed the metabolic flux of [U-13C]glucose in a mouse C2C12 myoblast cell line, TAZ-KO, which is CL-deficient because of CRISPR/Cas9-mediated knockout of the CL-remodeling enzyme tafazzin (TAZ).
- Bipolar disorder (BD) is a severe psychiatric illness affecting ∼1% of the world population. Valproate (VPA) and lithium, widely used for the treatment of BD, are not universally effective. These drugs have been shown to cause inositol depletion, but translating this observation to a specific therapeutic mechanism has been difficult, hampering the development of more effective therapies. We have shown previously in yeast that chronic VPA treatment induces the unfolded protein response due to increasing ceramide levels.
- Cardiolipin (CL), the signature phospholipid of mitochondrial membranes, plays an important role in mitochondrial processes and bioenergetics. CL is synthesized de novo and undergoes remodeling in the mitochondrial membranes. Perturbation of CL remodeling leads to the rare X-linked genetic disorder Barth syndrome, which shows disparities in clinical presentation. To uncover biochemical modifiers that exacerbate CL deficiency, we carried out a synthetic genetic array screen to identify synthetic lethal interactions with the yeast CL synthase mutant crd1Δ.