The vacuole of Saccharomyces cerevisiae plays essential roles not only for osmoregulation and ion homeostasis but also down-regulation (degradation) of cell surface proteins and protein and organellar turnover. Genetic selections and genome-wide screens in S. cerevisiae have resulted in the identification of a large number of genes required for delivery of proteins to the vacuole. Although the complete genome sequence of the fission yeast Schizosaccharomyces pombe has been reported, there have been few reports on the proteins required for vacuolar protein transport and vacuolar biogenesis in S. pombe. Recent progress in the S. pombe genome project of has revealed that most of the genes required for vacuolar biogenesis and protein transport are conserved between S. pombe and S. cerevisiae. This suggests that the basic machinery of vesicle-mediated protein delivery to the vacuole is conserved between the two yeasts. Identification and characterization of the fission yeast counterparts of the budding yeast Vps and Vps-related proteins have facilitated our understanding of protein transport pathways to the vacuole in S. pombe. This review focuses on the recent advances in vesicle-mediated protein transport to the vacuole in S. pombe.
2003 by Japan Society for Cell Biology