Heavy metal and metalloid contaminations are among the most concerning types of pollutant in the environment. Consequently, it is important to investigate the molecular mechanisms of cellular responses and detoxification pathways for these compounds in living organisms. To date, a number of genes have been linked to the detoxification process. The expression of these genes can be controlled at both transcriptional and translational levels. In baker’s yeast, Saccharomyces cerevisiae, resistance to a wide range of toxic metals is regulated by glutathione S-transferases. Yeast URE2 encodes for a protein that has glutathione peroxidase activity and is homologous to mammalian glutathione S-transferases. The URE2 expression is critical to cell survival under heavy metal stress. Here, we report on the finding of two genes, ITT1, an inhibitor of translation termination, and RPS1A, a small ribosomal protein, that when deleted yeast cells exhibit similar metal sensitivity phenotypes to gene deletion strain for URE2. Neither of these genes were previously linked to metal toxicity. Our gene expression analysis illustrates that these two genes affect URE2 mRNA expression at the level of translation.

Department of Biology

Moteshareie, H. (Houman), Hajikarimlou, M. (Maryam), Indrayanti, A.M. (Alex Mulet), Burnside, D. (Daniel), Paula Dias, A. (Ana), Lettl, C. (Clara), … Golshani, A. (2018). Heavy metal sensitivities of gene deletion strains for ITT1 and RPS1A connect their activities to the expression of URE2, a key gene involved in metal detoxification in yeast. PLoS ONE, 13(9). doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0198704