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Physiol Res. 2004;53 Suppl 1:S91-8.

Yeast as a model organism to study transport and homeostasis of alkali metal cations.

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  • 1Department of Membrane Transport, Institute of Physiology, Academy of Sciences of the Czech Republic, Prague, Czech Republic.


To maintain an optimum cytoplasmic K(+)/Na+ ratio, cells employ three distinct strategies: 1) strict discrimination among alkali metal cations at the level of influx, 2) efficient efflux of toxic cations from cells, and 3) selective sequestration of cations in organelles. Cation efflux and influx are mediated in cells by systems with different substrate specificities and diverse mechanisms, e.g. ATPases, symporters, antiporters, and channels. Simple eukaryotic yeast Saccharomyces cerevisiae cells proved to be an excellent model for studying the transport properties and physiological function of alkali-metal-cation transporters, and the existence of mutant strains lacking their own transport systems provided an efficient tool for a molecular study of alkali-metal-cation transporters from higher eukaryotes upon their expression in yeast cells.

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