Engineered nanomaterials (ENMs) are increasingly incorporated into a variety of commercial applications and consumer products; however, ENMs may possess cytotoxic properties due to their small size. This study assessed the effects of two commonly used ENMs, zinc oxide nanoparticles (ZnONPs) and silver nanoparticles (AgNPs), in the model eukaryote Saccharomyces cerevisiae. A collection of 4600 S. cerevisiae deletion mutant strains was used to deduce the genes, whose absence makes S. cerevisiae more prone to the cytotoxic effects of ZnONPs or AgNPs. We demonstrate that S. cerevisiae strains that lack genes involved in transmembrane and membrane transport, cellular ion homeostasis, and cell wall organization or biogenesis exhibited the highest sensitivity to ZnONPs. In contrast, strains that lack genes involved in transcription and RNA processing, cellular respiration, and endocytosis and vesicular transport exhibited the highest sensitivity to AgNPs. Secondary assays confirmed that ZnONPs affected cell wall function and integrity, whereas AgNPs exposure decreased transcription, reduced endocytosis, and led to a dysfunctional electron transport system. This study supports the use of S. cerevisiae Gene Deletion Array as an effective high-throughput technique to determine cellular targets of ENM toxicity.
Department of Biology

Márquez, I.G. (Imelda Galván), Ghiyasvand, M. (Mergan), Massarsky, A. (Andrey), Babu, M. (Mohan), Samanfar, B. (Bahram), Omidi, K. (Katayoun), … Golshani, A. (2018). Zinc oxide and silver nanoparticles toxicity in the baker’s yeast, Saccharomyces cerevisiae. PLoS ONE, 13(3). doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0193111