A well-studied transporter of plant cells is the hexose/H+ symporter of the unicellular alga Chlorella kessleri. Its properties, studied in vivo, are briefly summarized. In part, they are atypical and it has been suggested that this porter acts in an asymmetric way. Three genes coding for Chlorella hexose transport activity have been identified (HUP1, HUP2 and HUP3). HUP1 cDNA expressed in a mutant of Schizosaccharomyces pombe not transporting any D-glucose has been studied in detail. Several mutants with changed Km values for substrate were obtained, some by random polymerase chain reaction mutation and selection for decreased sensitivity towards the toxic sugar 2-deoxyglucose, some by site-directed mutagenesis. The amino acids affected clustered in the centre of the putative transmembrane helices V, VII and XI. Large families of hexose transporter genes are found in higher plants (Arabidopsis, Chenopodium, Ricinus). Their functional role is discussed. Finally, the progress made in studying plant transporters in a vesicle system energized by cytochrome c oxidase is summarized.

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