The effects of altered membrane sterol composition on the growth characteristics of sterol mutants of were determined using various energy sources and the detergent Tergitol. These mutants do not synthesize the end-product sterol, ergosterol, but do not require exogenous sterol for growth. The sterol biosynthetic intermediates that are incorporated into the mutant membranes are related to alterations in growth characteristics. The C-24 transmethylation step () was shown to be critical to membrane integrity. Cells with this lesion were protected by the presence of Tergitol or glycerol in the medium. A double mutant (), containing the Δ→Δ isomerization lesion () and the C-24 transmethylation lesion (), was highly sensitive to ethanol and Tergitol. These results corroborate permeability and membrane fluidity studies indicating that C sterols are much less efficient than C sterols in maintaining normal membrane structure and function.


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