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Symp Soc Exp Biol. 1994;48:123-39.

Proton and charge circulation through substrate symports in Saccharomyces cerevisiae: non-classical behaviour of the cytosine symport.

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Department of Biochemistry and Applied Molecular Biology, UMIST, Manchester, UK.


A yeast strain lacking cytosine deaminase activity and over-expressing the cytosine proton symport has been used to study three aspects of symport function. (1) The proton flow during cytosine uptake after depletion of cellular ATP implies that the distribution of cytosine eventually approaches equilibrium with the proton gradient, one proton being absorbed with each molecule of cytosine. After correction for the presence of a minor leak pathway for cytosine, the cytosine distribution during energy metabolism was used to assay the magnitude of delta microH. Values of about 280 mV at pH 5 were obtained in this way. (2) Certain other substrates of the cytosine symport (hypoxanthine and especially fluorocytosine) cause the uptake of more than one equivalent of protons, but nevertheless accumulate to the same extent as cytosine. This phenomenon appears to be distinct from that of proton slip and is termed pseudochannelling. (3) The recycling of symported protons through the proton pump is an ill-defined process in plants and fungi. It usually occurs only after a distinct time lag during which the change in bulk intracellular pH may be relatively small. We have found conditions where there is no apparent time lag before protons entering yeast with glycine or histidine are recycled. This behaviour is discussed in relation to the possible voltage characteristics of the proton pump, its putative regulation by delta microH and the metabolic consequences of ATP hydrolysis being accelerated.

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