Saccharomyces cerevisiae as a Tool to Investigate Plant Potassium and Sodium Transporters
International Journal of Molecular Sciences
Sodium and potassium are two alkali cations abundant in the biosphere. Potassium is essential for plants and its concentration must be maintained at approximately 150 mM in the plant cell cytoplasm including under circumstances where its concentration is much lower in soil. On the other hand, sodium must be extruded from the plant or accumulated either in the vacuole or in specific plant structures. Maintaining a high intracellular K+/Na+ ratio under adverse environmental conditions or in the
... ditions or in the presence of salt is essential to maintain cellular homeostasis and to avoid toxicity. The baker's yeast, Saccharomyces cerevisiae, has been used to identify and characterize participants in potassium and sodium homeostasis in plants for many years. Its utility resides in the fact that the electric gradient across the membrane and the vacuoles is similar to plants. Most plant proteins can be expressed in yeast and are functional in this unicellular model system, which allows for productive structure-function studies for ion transporting proteins. Moreover, yeast can also be used as a high-throughput platform for the identification of genes that confer stress tolerance and for the study of protein–protein interactions. In this review, we summarize advances regarding potassium and sodium transport that have been discovered using the yeast model system, the state-of-the-art of the available techniques and the future directions and opportunities in this field.