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Keywords:

  • Hexokinase 2;
  • Glucose sensing;
  • Glucose repression;
  • Glucose induction;
  • Transcriptional control;
  • Saccharomyces cerevisiae

Abstract

Sugars, predominantly glucose, evoke a variety of responses in Saccharomyces cerevisiae. These responses are elicited through a complex network of regulatory mechanisms that transduce the signal of presence of external glucose to their final intracellular targets. The HXK2 gene, encoding hexokinase 2 (Hxk2), the enzyme that initiates glucose metabolism, is highly expressed during growth in glucose and plays a pivotal role in the control of the expression of numerous genes, including itself. The mechanism of this autocontrol of expression is not completely understood. Hxk2 is found both in the nucleus and in the cytoplasm of S. cerevisiae; the nuclear localization is dependent on the presence of a stretch of amino acids located from lysine-6 to methionine-15. Although serine-14, within this stretch, can be phosphorylated in the absence of glucose, it is still unsettled whether this phosphorylation plays a role in the cellular localization of Hxk2. The elucidation of the mechanism of transport of Hxk2 to and from the nucleus, the influence of the oligomeric state of the protein on the nuclear transport and the fine mechanism of regulation of transcription of HXK2 are among the important unanswered questions in relation with the regulatory role of Hxk2.