Our knowledge about human and plant fat metabolism is often derived from scientific studies with yeast, which often serves as a model system with high relevance for higher organisms. By investigating the yeast enzymes, the biochemists wanted to research the processes of the fat metabolism and thereby contribute to the transferable knowledge of lipogenesis and lipolysis in humans and plants.
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While we would rather not have any fat deposits on our body, especially in summer, accumulated fats in plants are desirable as they make them especially nutritious. In this context, it is crucial to understand each factor's particular impact on the activity of the fat-splitting enzymes.
Biochemists from Graz University of Technology demonstrated in 2010 that two enzymes of the fat metabolism have a twofold function, being responsible both for the breakdown and the metabolic formation of fats. After this manipulation, the yeast cell is not capable of producing lipid particles any more, which are usually the site where the fat depleting enzyme (lipase) is localized. The study was carried out as part of an FWF sponsored research project and is part of Claudia Schmidt's dissertation.
Regulation of the Yeast Triacylglycerol Lipase Tgl3p by Formation of Nonpolar Lipids, The Journal of Biological Chemistry, Vol 288, No. When they investigated the fat depleting function, GA?nther Daum and doctoral candidate Claudia Schmidt from the Institute of Biochemistry of Graz University of Technology found that the enzymes are "parked" under certain conditions and suspend the breakdown of fat.

A team led by GA?nther Daum from the Institute of Biochemistry of the University of Technology of Graz demonstrated approximately three years ago that two specific, fat-splitting yeast enzymes have a twofold function. The now "homeless" enzyme migrates to the endoplasmic reticulum, the cell's "synthesis power plant". It changed its position, but then it went into a kind of 'on-hold state' without fulfilling any function.
Although the result is surprising, it is not illogical: "The enzyme is parked, but when called upon it is able to restart both its lipolysis and lipogenesis activity", he explains. This made the researchers conclude that the site of the enzyme within the cell decisively influences its function.

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