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The ability of cells to recognize and respond to specific metabolic deficiencies is required for all forms of life. We have uncovered a system in the yeast S. cerevisiae that, in response to a perceived deficiency in cell wall glucan, alters partitioning of glucose toward glucan synthesis and away from glycogen synthesis. The paralogous yeast PAS kinases Psk1 and Psk2 phosphorylate UDP-glucose pyrophosphorylase (Ugp1), the primary producer of UDP-glucose, the glucose donor for glucan biosynthesis. Unexpectedly, phosphorylation of Ugp1 does not affect its catalytic activity but instead alters the terminal destination of the UDP-glucose it generates. Phosphorylated Ugp1 is required for intensive glucan production, and inability to phosphorylate Ugp1 is associated with a weak cell wall, decreased glucan content, and increased glycogen content. We provide data indicating that phosphorylation by Psk1 or Psk2 targets Ugp1 to the cell periphery, where the UDP-glucose it produces is in proximity to the site of glucan synthesis. We propose that regulation of glucose partitioning by altered enzyme and substrate localization is a rapid and potent response to metabolic deficiency.


Tammy L Smith, Jared Rutter. Regulation of glucose partitioning by PAS kinase and Ugp1 phosphorylation. Molecular cell. 2007 May 25;26(4):491-9

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PMID: 17531808

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