Cloning and characterization of three genes (SUT1–3 ) encoding glucose transporters of the yeast Pichia stipitis


Thomas Weierstall. E-mail; Tel. (+49) 211 811 3586; Fax (+49) 211 811 5370.


We have identified and characterized three genes, SUT1, SUT2 and SUT3, that encode glucose transporters of the yeast Pichia stipitis. When expressed in a Saccharomyces cerevisiae hxt null mutant strain that is unable to take up monosaccharides, all three proteins restored growth on glucose. Sequencing of the genes revealed open reading frames coding for 553 amino acids in the case of SUT1, and for 550 amino acids in the case of SUT2 and of SUT3. The derived protein sequences are closely related to one another, and show distinct sequence similarities to the S. cerevisiae hexose transporter family and to monosaccharide transporters of other organisms. The Sut2 and Sut3 proteins are nearly identical and differ only in one amino acid. Determination of substrate specificities and kinetic parameters of the individual Sut proteins expressed in a S. cerevisiae hxt1–7 mutant revealed Sut1, Sut2 and Sut3 as glucose transporters with Km values in the millimolar range. The proteins were also able to transport xylose and other monosaccharides, but with a considerably lower affinity. In P. stipitistranscription of SUT1 was strongly induced by glucose and was independent of the oxygen supply. In contrast, SUT2 and SUT3 were only expressed under aerobic conditions, but independent of the carbon source. Cells disrupted for the SUT1 gene did not show any obvious growth phenotype, however low-affinity glucose uptake was lost. Further investigations suggest that the Sut proteins constitute a subfamily of glucose transporters in P. stipitis, and that other and probably unrelated proteins exist additionally mediating high-affinity glucose and xylose uptake.