Growth Inhibition by Amino Acids in Saccharomyces cerevisiae

Stephanie J Ruiz, Joury S van 't Klooster, Frans Bianchi, Bert Poolman*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

18 Citations (Scopus)
163 Downloads (Pure)


Amino acids are essential metabolites but can also be toxic when present at high levels intracellularly. Substrate-induced downregulation of amino acid transporters in Saccharomyces cerevisiae is thought to be a mechanism to avoid this toxicity. It has been shown that unregulated uptake by the general amino acid permease Gap1 causes cells to become sensitive to amino acids. Here, we show that overexpression of eight other amino acid transporters (Agp1, Bap2, Can1, Dip5, Gnp1, Lyp1, Put4, or Tat2) also induces a growth defect when specific single amino acids are present at concentrations of 0.5-5 mM. We can now state that all proteinogenic amino acids, as well as the important metabolite ornithine, are growth inhibitory to S. cerevisiae when transported into the cell at high enough levels. Measurements of initial transport rates and cytosolic pH show that toxicity is due to amino acid accumulation and not to the influx of co-transported protons. The amino acid sensitivity phenotype is a useful tool that reports on the in vivo activity of transporters and has allowed us to identify new transporter-specific substrates.

Original languageEnglish
Article number9010007
Pages (from-to)1-17
Number of pages17
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 22-Dec-2020


  • amino acid transport
  • amino acid toxicity
  • growth inhibition
  • Saccharomyces cerevisiae

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