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Molecular and cellular biology

The yeast copper response is regulated by DNA damage.


PMID 23959798

Abstract

Copper is an essential but potentially toxic redox-active metal, so the levels and distribution of this metal are carefully regulated to ensure that it binds to the correct proteins. Previous studies of copper-dependent transcription in the yeast Saccharomyces cerevisiae have focused on the response of genes to changes in the exogenous levels of copper. We now report that yeast copper genes are regulated in response to the DNA-damaging agents methyl methanesulfonate (MMS) and hydroxyurea by a mechanism(s) that requires the copper-responsive transcription factors Mac1 and AceI, copper superoxide dismutase (Sod1) activity, and the Rad53 checkpoint kinase. Furthermore, in copper-starved yeast, the response of the Rad53 pathway to MMS is compromised due to a loss of Sod1 activity, consistent with the model that yeast imports copper to ensure Sod1 activity and Rad53 signaling. Crucially, the Mac1 transcription factor undergoes changes in its redox state in response to changing levels of copper or MMS. This study has therefore identified a novel regulatory relationship between cellular redox, copper homeostasis, and the DNA damage response in yeast.

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