The Journal of biological chemistry

Asymmetric signal transduction through paralogs that comprise a genetic switch for sugar sensing in Saccharomyces cerevisiae.

PMID 19720826


Efficient uptake of glucose is especially critical to Saccharomyces cerevisiae because its preference to ferment this carbon source demands high flux through glycolysis. Glucose induces expression of HXT genes encoding hexose transporters through a signal generated by the Snf3 and Rgt2 glucose sensors that leads to depletion of the transcriptional regulators Mth1 and Std1. These paralogous proteins bind to Rgt1 and enable it to repress expression of HXT genes. Here we show that Mth1 and Std1 can substitute for one another and provide nearly normal regulation of their targets. However, their roles in the glucose signal transduction cascade have diverged significantly. Mth1 is the prominent effector of Rgt1 function because it is the more abundant of the two paralogs under conditions in which both are active (in the absence of glucose). Moreover, the cellular level of Mth1 is quite sensitive to the amount of available glucose. The abundance of Std1 protein, on the other hand, remains essentially constant over a similar range of glucose concentrations. The signal generated by low levels of glucose is amplified by rapid depletion of Mth1; the velocity of this depletion is dependent on both its rate of degradation and swift repression of MTH1 transcription by the Snf1-Mig1 glucose repression pathway. Quantitation of the contributions of Mth1 and Std1 to regulation of HXT expression reveals the unique roles played by each paralog in integrating nutrient availability with metabolic capacity: Mth1 is the primary regulator; Std1 serves to buffer the response to glucose.