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FEMS Microbiol Rev. 1997 Aug;21(1):85-111.

The molecular genetics of hexose transport in yeasts.

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Institut für Mikrobiologie, Heinrich-Heine-Universität, Düsseldorf, Germany.


Transport across the plasma membrane is the first, obligatory step of hexose utilization. In yeast cells the uptake of hexoses is mediated by a large family of related transporter proteins. In baker's yeast Saccharomyces cerevisiae the genes of 20 different hexose transporter-related proteins have been identified. Six of these transmembrane proteins mediate the metabolically relevant uptake of glucose, fructose and mannose for growth, two others catalyze the transport of only small amounts of these sugars, one protein is a galactose transporter but also able to transport glucose, two transporters act as glucose sensors, two others are involved in the pleiotropic drug resistance process, and the functions of the remaining hexose transporter-related proteins are not yet known. The catabolic hexose transporters exhibit different affinities for their substrates, and expression of their corresponding genes is controlled by the glucose sensors according to the availability of carbon sources. In contrast, milk yeast Kluyveromyces lactis contains only a few different hexose transporters. Genes of other monosaccharide transporter-related proteins have been found in fission yeast Schizosaccharomyces pombe and in the xylose-fermenting yeast Pichia stipitis. However, the molecular genetics of hexose transport in many other yeasts remains to be established. The further characterization of this multigene family of hexose transporters should help to elucidate the role of transport in yeast sugar metabolism.

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