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EMBO J. 1992 Sep;11(9):3157-64.

A novel and conserved salt-induced protein is an important determinant of salt tolerance in yeast.

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European Molecular Biology Laboratory, Heidelberg, Germany.


We have isolated a novel yeast gene, HAL1, which upon overexpression improves growth under salt stress. In addition, disruption of this gene decreases salt tolerance. Therefore HAL1 constitutes a rate-limiting determinant for halotolerance. It encodes a polar protein of 32 kDa located in the yeast cytoplasm and unrelated to sequences in data banks. The expression of this gene is increased by high concentrations of either NaCl, KCl or sorbitol. On the other hand, the growth advantage obtained by overexpression of HAL1 is specific for NaCl stress. In cells overexpressing HAL1, sodium toxicity seems to be counteracted by an increased accumulation of potassium. The HAL1 protein could interact with the transport systems which determine intracellular K+ homeostasis. The HAL1 gene and encoded protein are conserved in plants, being induced in these organisms by salt stress and abscisic acid. These results suggest that yeast serves as a convenient model system for the molecular biology of plant salt tolerance.

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