Saccharomyces cerevisiae is a facultative anaerobe devoid of mitochondrial alternative oxidase. In this yeast, the structure and biogenesis of the respiratory chain, on the one hand, and the functional interactions of oxidative phosphorylation with the cellular energetic metabolism, on the other, are well documented. However, to our knowledge, the molecular aspects and the physiological roles of the non-respiratory pathways that utilize molecular oxygen have not yet been reviewed. In this paper, we review the various non-respiratory pathways in a global context of utilization of molecular oxygen in S. cerevisiae. The roles of these pathways are examined as a function of environmental conditions, using either physiological, biochemical or molecular data. Special attention is paid to the characterization of the so-called 'cyanide-resistant respiration' that is induced by respiratory deficiency, catabolic repression and oxygen limitation during growth. Finally, several aspects of oxygen sensing are discussed.
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