Glucose repression in Saccharomyces cerevisiae is directly associated with hexose phosphorylation by hexokinases PI and PII


Correspondence to K.-D. Entian, Institut für Mikrobiologie, Johann Wolfgang Goethe-Universität Frankfurt, Theodor-Stern-Kai 7. Haus 75A, W-6000 Frankfurt/Main 70, Federal Republic of Germany


Genetic and biochemical analyses showed that hexokinase PII is mainly responsible for glucose repression in Saccharomyces cerevisiae, indicating a regulatory domain mediating glucose repression. Hexokinase PI/PII hybrids were constructed to identify the supposed regulatory domain and the repression behavior was observed in the respective transformants. The hybrid constructs allowed the identification of a domain (amino acid residues 102–246) associated with the fructose/glucose phosphorylation ratio. This ratio is characteristic of each isoenzyme, therefore this domain probably corresponds to the catalytic domain of hexokinases PI and PII. Glucose repression was associated with the C-terminal part of hexokinase PII, but only these constructs had high catalytic activity whereas opposite constructs were less active. Reduction of hexokinase PII activity by promoter deletion was inversely followed by a decrease in the glucose repression of invertase and maltase. These results did not support the hypothesis that a specific regulatory domain of hexokinase PII exists which is independent of the hexokinase PII catalytic domain. Gene disruptions of hexokinases further decreased repression when hexokinase PI was removed in addition to hexokinase PII. This proved that hexokinase PI also has some function in glucose repression. Stable hexokinase PI overproducers were nearly as effective for glucose repression as hexokinase PII. This showed that hexokinase PI is also capable of mediating glucose repression. All these results demonstrated that catalytically active hexokinases are indispensable for glucose repression.

To rule out any further glycolytic reactions necessary for glucose repression, phosphoglucoisomerase activity was gradually reduced. Cells with residual phosphoglucoisomerase activities of less than 10% showed reduced growth on glucose. Even 1% residual activity was sufficient for normal glucose repression, which proved that additional glycolytic reactions are not necessary for glucose repression. To verify the role of hexokinases in glucose repression, the third glucose-phosphorylating enzyme, glucokinase, was stably overexpressed in a hexokinase PI/PII double-null mutant. No strong effect on glucose repression was observed, even in strains with 2.6 U/mg glucose-phosphorylating activity, which is threefold increased compared to wild-type cells. This result indicated that glucose repression is only associated with the activity of hexokinases PI and PII and not with that of glucokinase.