Functional relevance of water and glycerol channels inSaccharomyces cerevisiae

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Our understanding of the functional relevance of orthodox aquaporins and aquaglyceroporins in Saccharomyces cerevisiae is essentially based on phenotypic variations obtained by expression/overexpression/deletion of these major intrinsic proteins in selected strains. These water/glycerol channels are considered crucial during various life-cycle phases, such as sporulation and mating and in some life processes such as rapid freeze-thaw tolerance, osmoregulation and phenomena associated with cell surface. Despite their putative functional roles not only as channels but also as sensors, their underlying mechanisms and their regulation are still poorly understood. In the present review, we summarize and discuss the physiological relevance of S. cerevisiae aquaporins (Aqy1 and Aqy2) and aquaglyceroporins (Fps1 and Yfl054c). In particular, the fact that most S. cerevisiae laboratory strains harbor genes coding for non-functional aquaporins, while wild and industrial strains possess at least one functional aquaporin, suggests that aquaporin activity is required for cell survival under more harsh conditions.

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