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Biochim Biophys Acta. 2003 Jun 27;1613(1-2):57-71.

Fps1p channel is the mediator of the major part of glycerol passive diffusion in Saccharomyces cerevisiae: artefacts and re-definitions.

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Centro de Biologia da Universidade do Minho (CB-UM)/Departamento de Biologia, Campus de Gualtar, 4710-057 Braga, Portugal.


Glycerol has been shown to cross the plasma membrane of Saccharomyces cerevisiae through (1) a H(+)/symport detected in cells grown on non-fermentable carbon sources, (2) the constitutively expressed Fps1p channel and (3) by passive diffusion. The Fps1p channel has been named a facilitator for mediating glycerol low affinity transport of the facilitated diffusion type. We present experimental evidence that this kinetic is an artefact created by glycerol kinase activity. Instead, the channel is shown to mediate the major part of glycerol's passive diffusion. This is not incompatible with Fps1p's major role in vivo, which has been previously shown to be the control of glycerol export under osmotic stress or in reaction to turgor changes. We also verified that FPS1 overexpression caused an increase in H(+)/symport V(max). Furthermore, yfl054c and fps1 mutants were equally affected by exogenously added ethanol, being the correspondent passive diffusion stimulated. For the first time, to our knowledge, a phenotype attributed to the functioning of YFL054c gene is presented. Glycerol passive diffusion is thus apparently channel-mediated. This is discussed according to glycerol's chemical properties, which contradict the widely spread concept of glycerol's liposoluble nature. The discussion considers the multiple roles that the intracellular levels of glycerol and its pathway regulation might play as a central key to metabolism control.

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