The phosphatase calcineurin and the kinases Hal4/Hal5 regulate high-affinity potassium uptake in Saccharomyces cerevisiae through the Trk1 transporter. We demonstrate that calcineurin is necessary for high-affinity potassium uptake even in the absence of Na(+) stress. HAL5 expression is induced in response to stress in a calcineurin-dependent manner through a newly identified functional CDRE (nt -195/-189). Lack of calcineurin decreases Hal5 protein levels, although with little effect on Trk1 amounts. However, the growth defect of cnb1 cells at K(+)-limiting conditions can be rescued in part by overexpression of HAL5, and this mutation further aggravates the potassium requirements of a hal4 strain. This suggests that the control exerted by calcineurin on Hal5 expression may be biologically relevant for Trk1 regulation.
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