All fungal genomes harbour numerous ABC (ATP-binding cassette) proteins located in various cellular compartments such as the plasma membrane, vacuoles, peroxisomes and mitochondria. Most of them have initially been discovered through their ability to confer resistance to a multitude of drugs, a phenomenon called PDR (pleiotropic drug resistance) or MDR (multidrug resistance). Studying the mechanisms underlying PDR/MDR in yeast is of importance in two ways: first, ABC proteins can confer drug resistance on pathogenic fungi such as Candida spp., Aspergillus spp. or Cryptococcus neoformans; secondly, the well-established genetic, biochemical and cell biological tractability of Saccharomyces cerevisiae makes it an ideal tool to study basic mechanisms of drug transport by ABC proteins. In the past, knowledge from yeast has complemented work on human ABC transporters involved in anticancer drug resistance or genetic diseases. Interestingly, increasing evidence available from yeast and other organisms suggests that ABC proteins play a physiological role in membrane homoeostasis and lipid distribution, although this is being intensely debated in the literature.

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