Assimilation of nitrate by yeasts


  • José M Siverio

    Corresponding author
    1. Departamento de Bioquímica y Biología Molecular, Grupo del Metabolismo del Nitrógeno, Universidad de La Laguna, E-38206 La Laguna, Tenerife, Spain
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Nitrate assimilation has received much attention in filamentous fungi and plants but not so much in yeasts. Recently the availability of classical genetic and molecular biology tools for the yeast Hansenula polymorpha has allowed the advance of the study of this metabolic pathway in yeasts. The genes YNT1, YNR1 and YNI1, encoding respectively nitrate transport, nitrate reductase and nitrite reductase, have been cloned, as well as two other genes encoding transcriptional regulatory factors. All these genes lie closely together in a cluster. Transcriptional regulation is the main regulatory mechanism that controls the levels of the enzymes involved in nitrate metabolism although other mechanisms may also be operative. The process involved in the sensing and signalling of the presence of nitrate in the medium is not well understood. In this article the current state of the studies of nitrate assimilation in yeasts as well as possible venues for future research are reviewed.