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Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A. 2001 Jul 3;98(14):7801-5. Epub 2001 Jun 26.

A TRP homolog in Saccharomyces cerevisiae forms an intracellular Ca(2+)-permeable channel in the yeast vacuolar membrane.

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  • 1Laboratory of Molecular Biology, University of Wisconsin, Madison, WI 53706, USA.


The molecular identification of ion channels in internal membranes has made scant progress compared with the study of plasma membrane ion channels. We investigated a prominent voltage-dependent, cation-selective, and calcium-activated vacuolar ion conductance of 320 pS (yeast vacuolar conductance, YVC1) in Saccharomyces cerevisiae. Here we report on a gene, the deduced product of which possesses significant homology to the ion channel of the transient receptor potential (TRP) family. By using a combination of gene deletion and re-expression with direct patch clamping of the yeast vacuolar membrane, we show that this yeast TRP-like gene is necessary for the YVC1 conductance. In physiological conditions, tens of micromolar cytoplasmic Ca(2+) activates the YVC1 current carried by cations including Ca(2+) across the vacuolar membrane. Immunodetection of a tagged YVC1 gene product indicates that YVC1 is primarily localized in the vacuole and not other intracellular membranes. Thus we have identified the YVC1 vacuolar/lysosomal cation-channel gene. This report has implications for the function of TRP channels in other organisms and the possible molecular identification of vacuolar/lysosomal ion channels in other eukaryotes.

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