The trk1+ gene has been proposed as a component of the K+ influx system in the fission yeast Schizosaccharomyces pombe. Previous work from our laboratories revealed that trk1 mutants do not show significantly altered content or influx of K+, although they are more sensitive to Na+. Genome database searches revealed that S. pombe encodes a putative gene (designated here trk2+) that shows significant identity to trk1+. We have analyzed the characteristics of potassium influx in S. pombe by using trk1 trk2 mutants. Unlike budding yeast, fission yeast displays a biphasic transport kinetics, trk2 mutants do not show altered K+ transport and exhibit only a slightly reduced Na+ tolerance. However, trk1 trk2 double mutants fail to grow at low K+ concentrations and show a dramatic decrease in Rb+ influx, as a result of loss of the high-affinity transport component. Furthermore, trk1 trk2 cells are very sensitive to Na+, as would be expected for a strain showing defective potassium transport. When trk1 trk2 cells are maintained in K+- free medium, the potassium content remains higher than that of the wild type or trk single mutants. In addition, the trk1 trk2 strain displays increased sensitivity to hygromycin B. These results are consistent with a hyperpolarized state of the plasma membrane. An additional phenotype of cells lacking both Trk components is a failure to grow at acidic pH. In conclusion, the trk1 and Trk2 proteins define the major K+ transport system in fission yeast, and in contrast to what is known for budding yeast, the presence of any of these two proteins is sufficient to allow growth at normal potassium levels.