NAD holds a key position in metabolism and cellular regulatory events as a major redox carrier and a signalling molecule. NAD biosynthesis pathways have been reconstructed and compared in seven yeast species with completely sequenced genomes, including Saccharomyces cerevisiae, Kluyveromyces lactis, Candida glabrata, Debaryomyces hansenii, Candida albicans, Yarrowia lipolytica and Schizosaccharomyces pombe. Both amino acid and nucleotide sequence similarity analysis in silico indicated that de novo NAD biosynthesis might not exist in K. lactis, C. glabrata and Schiz. pombe, while other species have the kynurenine pathway. It also showed that the NAD salvage pathway via nicotinic acid and nicotinic acid mononucleotide is conserved in all of these yeasts. Deletion of KlNPT1 (the gene for nicotinate phosphoribosyl-transferase) is lethal, which demonstrates that this salvage pathway, utilizing exogenous nicotinic acid, is the unique route to synthesize NAD in K. lactis. The results suggested that the basis of the variation of niacin requirements in yeasts lies in their different combinations of NAD biosynthesis pathways. The de novo pathway is absent but the salvage pathway is conserved in niacin-negative yeasts, while both pathways coexist in niacin-positive yeasts.
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