Endocytosis and vacuolar degradation of the yeast cell surface glucose sensors Rgt2 and Snf3

Adhiraj Roy, George Washington University
Jeong-Ho Kim, George Washington University

This research was originally published in Journal of Biological Chemistry. Roy, Adhiraj & Jeong-Ho Kim. Endocytosis and vacuolar degradation of the yeast cell surface glucose sensors Rgt2 and Snf3 Journal of Biological Chemistry. 2014; Vol 289(10):7247-7256. © the American Society for Biochemistry and Molecular Biology.

[Epub ahead of print]


Sensing and signaling the presence of extracellular glucose is crucial for the yeast Saccharomyces cerevisiae because of its fermentative metabolism, characterized by high glucose flux through glycolysis. The yeast senses glucose through the cell surface glucose sensors Rgt2 and Snf3, which serve as glucose receptors that generate the signal for induction of genes involved in glucose uptake and metabolism. Rgt2 and Snf3 detect high and low glucose concentrations, respectively, perhaps due to their different affinities for glucose. Here, we provide evidence that cell surface levels of glucose sensors are regulated by ubiquitination and degradation. The glucose sensors are removed from the plasma membrane through endocytosis and targeted to the vacuole for degradation upon glucose depletion. The turnover of the glucose sensors is inhibited in endocytosis defective mutants, and the sensor proteins with a mutation at their putative ubiquitin-acceptor lysine residues are resistant to degradation. Of note, the low affinity glucose sensor Rgt2 remains stable only in high-glucose grown cells, and the high affinity glucose sensor Snf3, only in cells grown in low glucose. Besides, constitutively active, signaling forms of glucose sensors do not undergo endocytosis, whereas signaling defective sensors are constitutively targeted for degradation, suggesting that the stability of the glucose sensors may be associated with their ability to sense glucose. Therefore, our findings demonstrate that the amount of glucose available dictates the cell surface levels of the glucose sensors and that the regulation of glucose sensors by glucose concentration may enable yeast cells to maintain glucose sensing activity at the cell surface over a wide range of glucose concentrations.