Saccharomyces cerevisiae mutants altered in vacuole function are defective in copper detoxification and iron-responsive gene transcription.
The metal ions, Cu2+/+ and Fe3+/2+, are essential co-factors for a wide variety of enzymatic reactions. However, both metal ions are toxic when hyper-accumulated or maldistributed within cells due to their ability to generate damaging free radicals or through the displacement of other physiological metal ions from metalloproteins. Although copper transport into yeast cells is apparently independent of iron, the known dependence on Cu2+ for high affinity transport of Fe2+ into yeast cells has established a physiological link between these two trace metal ions. In this study we demonstrate that proteins encoded by genes previously demonstrated to play critical roles in vacuole assembly for acidification, PEP3, PEP5 and VMA3, are also required for normal copper and iron metal ion homeostasis. Yeast cells lacking a functional PEP3 or PEP5 gene are hypersensitive to copper and render the normally iron-repressible FET3 gene, encoding a multi-copper Fe(II) oxidase involved in Fe2+ transport, also repressible by exogenous copper ions. The inability of these same vacuolar mutant strains to repress FET3 mRNA levels in the presence of an iron-unresponsive allele of the AFT1 regulatory gene are consistent with alterations in the intracellular distribution of redox states of Fe3+/2+ in the presence of elevated extracellular concentrations of copper ions. Therefore, the yeast vacuole is an important organelle for maintaining the homeostatic convergence of the essential yet toxic copper and iron ions.
Szczypka, MS; Zhu, Z; Silar, P; Thiele, DJ
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