, Volume 243, Issue 3, pp 358-362

Polyubiquitin gene expression contributes to oxidative stress resistance in respiratory yeast (Saccharomyces cerevisiae)

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UBI4, the polyubiquitin gene of Saccharomyces cerevisiae, is expressed at a low level in vegetative cells, yet induced strongly in response to starvation, cadmium, DNA-damaging agents and heat shock. UBI4 is also expressed at a higher basal level in cells growing by respiration as compared to glucose-repressed cells growing by fermentation. This higher UBI4 expression of respiratory cultures probably helps to counteract the greater oxidative stress of respiratory growth. The effects of inactivating UBI4 on high temperature viability are more marked with respiratory cultures. Also loss of UBI4 leads to a considerably increased rate of killing of respiring cells by hydrogen peroxide, whereas the same gene inactivation has relatively little effect on the peroxide sensitivity of cells in which mitochondrial functions are repressed. This is the first study to reveal that ubiquitin levels in cells can influence their ability to withstand oxidative stress.

Communicated by C. P. Hollenberg