Ion channel genes have been discovered in many microbial organisms. We have investigated a microbial TRP (transient receptor potential) ion channel gene which has most similarity to polycystic-kidney-disease-related ion channel genes. We have shown that this gene (pkd2) is essential for cellular viability, and is involved in cell growth and cell wall synthesis. Expression of this gene increases following damage to the cell wall. This fission yeast pkd2 gene, orthologues of which are found in all eukaryotic cells, appears to be a key signalling component in the regulation of cell shape and cell wall synthesis in yeast through an interaction with a Rho1-GTPase. A model for the mode of action of this Schizosaccharomyces pombe protein in a Ca2+ signalling pathway is hypothesized.

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