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Yeast. 1996 Apr;12(5):439-47.

High-affinity glucose uptake in Saccharomyces cerevisiae is not dependent on the presence of glucose-phosphorylating enzymes.

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E. C. Slater Institute, BioCentrum Amsterdam, University of Amsterdam, The Netherlands.


Glucose uptake in Saccharomyces cerevisiae is believed to consist of two kinetically distinguishable components, the affinity of which is modulated during growth on glucose. It has been reported that triple hexose-kinase deletion mutants do not exhibit high-affinity glucose uptake. This raises the question of whether and how high-affinity glucose uptake is related to the presence of glucose-phosphorylating enzymes. In this study the kinetics of glucose uptake in both wild-type cells and cells of hexose-kinase deletion mutants, grown on either glycerol or galactose, were determined using a rapid-uptake method. In wild-type cells glucose uptake measured over either 5 s or 200 ms exhibited high affinity. In contrast, in cells of hexose-kinase deletion mutants the apparent affinity of glucose uptake was dependent on the time scale during which uptake was measured. Measurements on the 5-s scale showed apparent low-affinity uptake whereas measurements on the 200-ms scale showed high-affinity uptake. The affinity and maximal rate of the latter were comparable to those in wild-type cells. Using a simple model for a symmetrical facilitator, it was possible to simulate the experimentally determined relation between apparent affinity and the time scale used. The results suggest that high-affinity glucose transport is not necessarily dependent on the presence of glucose-phosphorylating enzymes. Apparent low-affinity uptake kinetics can arise as a consequence of an insufficient rate of removal of intracellular free glucose by phosphorylation. This study underlines the need to differentiate between influences of the translocator and of metabolism on the apparent kinetics of sugar uptake in yeast.

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