Identification of the Genetic Requirements for Zinc Tolerance and Toxicity in Saccharomyces cerevisiae.


National Engineering Laboratory for Cereal Fermentation Technology (NELCF), School of Biotechnology, Jiangnan University, 1800 Lihu Road, Wuxi, Jiangsu 214122, China, [Email]


Zinc is essential for almost all living organisms, since it serves as a crucial cofactor for transcription factors and enzymes. However, it is toxic to cell growth when present in excess. The present work aims to investigate the toxicity mechanisms induced by zinc stress in yeast cells. To this end, 108 yeast single-gene deletion mutants were identified sensitive to 6 mM ZnCl2 through a genome-wide screen. These genes were predominantly related to the biological processes of vacuolar acidification and transport, polyphosphate metabolic process, cytosolic transport, the process utilizing autophagic mechanism. A result from the measurement of intracellular zinc content showed that 64 mutants accumulated higher intracellular zinc under zinc stress than the wild-type cells. We further measured the intracellular ROS (reactive oxygen species) levels of 108 zinc-sensitive mutants treated with 3 mM ZnCl2 We showed that the intracellular ROS levels in 51 mutants were increased by high zinc stress, suggesting their possible involvement in regulating ROS homeostasis in response to high zinc. The results also revealed that excess zinc could generate oxidative damage and then activate the expression of several antioxidant defenses genes. Taken together, the data obtained indicated that excess zinc toxicity might be mainly due to the high intracellular zinc levels and ROS levels induced by zinc stress in yeast cells. Our current findings would provide a basis to understand the molecular mechanisms of zinc toxicity in yeast cells.


Reactive oxygen species (ROS),Saccharomyces cerevisiae,genetic screening,genomics,zinc toxicity,

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