Multiple nutrient transporters enable cells to mitigate a rate-affinity tradeoff

Luis Fernando Montano Gutierrez, Kevin Correia, Peter S Swain

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract / Description of output

Eukaryotic genomes often encode multiple transporters for the same nutrient. For example, budding yeast has 17 hexose transporters (HXTs), all of which potentially transport glucose. Using mathematical modelling, we show that transporters that use either facilitated diffusion or symport can have a rate-affinity trade off, where an increase in the maximal rate of transport decreases the transporter’s apparent affinity. These changes affect the import flux non monotonically, and for a given concentration of extracellular nutrient there is one transporter, characterised by its affinity, that has a higher import flux than any other. Through encoding multiple transporters, cells can therefore mitigate the trade off by expressing those transporters with higher affinities in lower concentrations of nutrients. We verify our predictions using fluorescent tagging of seven HXT genes in budding yeast and follow their expression over time in batch culture. Using the known affinities of the corresponding transporters, we show that the irregulation in glucose is broadly consistent with a rate-affinity trade off: as glucose falls, the levels of the different transporters peak in an order that mostly follows their affinity for glucose. More generally, evolution is constrained by trade offs. Our findings indicate that one such trade off often occurs in the cellular transport of nutrients.
Original languageEnglish
Article numbere1010060
Number of pages15
JournalPLoS Computational Biology
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - 25 Apr 2022

Keywords / Materials (for Non-textual outputs)

  • Glucose/metabolism
  • Membrane Transport Proteins/genetics
  • Monosaccharide Transport Proteins/genetics
  • Nutrients
  • Saccharomyces cerevisiae Proteins/genetics
  • Saccharomyces cerevisiae/genetics


Dive into the research topics of 'Multiple nutrient transporters enable cells to mitigate a rate-affinity tradeoff'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this