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Eukaryot Cell. 2004 Apr;3(2):359-68.

Novel p-type ATPases mediate high-affinity potassium or sodium uptake in fungi.

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  • 1Departamento de Biotecnología, Universidad Politécnica de Madrid, 28040 Madrid, Spain. Bayer CropScience R-TRF, 40789 Monheim, Germany.


Fungi have an absolute requirement for K+, but K+ may be partially replaced by Na+. Na+ uptake in Ustilago maydis and Pichia sorbitophila was found to exhibit a fast rate, low Km, and apparent independence of the membrane potential. Searches of sequences with similarity to P-type ATPases in databases allowed us to identify three genes in these species, Umacu1, Umacu2, and PsACU1, that could encode P-type ATPases of a novel type. Deletion of the acu1 and acu2 genes proved that they encoded the transporters that mediated the high-affinity Na+ uptake of U. maydis. Heterologous expressions of the Umacu2 gene in K+ transport mutants of Saccharomyces cerevisiae and transport studies in the single and double Deltaacu1 and Deltaacu2 mutants of U. maydis revealed that the acu1 and acu2 genes encode transporters that mediated high-affinity K+ uptake in addition to Na+ uptake. Other fungi also have genes or pseudogenes whose translated sequences show high similarity to the ACU proteins of U. maydis and P. sorbitophila. In the phylogenetic tree of P-type ATPases all the identified ACU ATPases define a new cluster, which shows the lowest divergence with type IIC, animal Na+,K(+)-ATPases. The fungal high-affinity Na+ uptake mediated by ACU ATPases is functionally identical to the uptake that is mediated by some plant HKT transporters.

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