Regulation of N-acetylglucosamine Uptake in Yeast

Biochim Biophys Acta. 1979 Oct 19;557(1):248-58. doi: 10.1016/0005-2736(79)90107-x.


Various yeasts have been investigated for their ability to grow on N-acetylglucosamine as the sole carbon source and only those which are associated with the disease, candidiasis, gave positive results. The yeasts unable to grow on N-acetylglucosamine lacked the capacity to transport the aminosugar across the cell membrane. In pathogenic yeasts, two systems of different affinity for substrate were found to operate in the uptake of N-acetylglucosamine. In glucose-grown cells a constitutive, low affinity uptake system was present, but upon addition of inducer, a specific high affinity uptake system was synthesized. Experiments with the inhibitors of macromolecule synthesis suggested that the synthesis of RNA and protein is necessary for induction whereas the synthesis of DNA is not. In glucose-grown Candida albicans cells which are devoid of N-acetylglucosamine enters into the cells as phosphorylated form using a constitutive uptake system. Uranyl acetate (0.01 mM) which binds to cell membrane-associated polyphosphates, inhibited completely the inducible uptake of N-acetylglucosamine. Labelling experiments, designed to determine the temporal sequence of appearance of N-acetylglucosamine in intracellular free sugar and sugar-phosphate pools, indicated that N-acetylglucosamine first appeared in the cells as pohosphorylated form. Similar results were obtained with Saccharomyces phosphorylated form. Similar results were obtained with Saccharomyces cerevisiae 3059 and some other yeasts which are devoid of N-acetylglucosamine kinase in both uninduced and induced conditions. These results are consistent with the model of van Steveninck that involves phosphorylation during transpost. Furthermore, inhibitors of energy metabolism (arsenate, azide and cyanide), proton conductor (m-chlorocarbonylcyanide phenylhydrazine) and dibenzyl diammonium ion (membrane permeable cation) inhibited the inducible N-acetylglucosamine uptake in C. albicans.

MeSH terms

  • Acetylglucosamine / metabolism*
  • Biological Transport
  • Candida albicans / growth & development
  • Candida albicans / metabolism
  • Energy Metabolism / drug effects
  • Glucosamine / analogs & derivatives*
  • Macromolecular Substances
  • Saccharomyces cerevisiae / metabolism
  • Yeasts / metabolism*


  • Macromolecular Substances
  • Glucosamine
  • Acetylglucosamine