Applied Microbiology and Biotechnology

, Volume 90, Issue 2, pp 679–687

Lead induces oxidative stress and phenotypic markers of apoptosis in Saccharomyces cerevisiae

Applied Microbial and Cell Physiology

DOI: 10.1007/s00253-010-3056-7

Cite this article as:
Bussche, J.V. & Soares, E.V. Appl Microbiol Biotechnol (2011) 90: 679. doi:10.1007/s00253-010-3056-7


In the present work, the mode of cell death induced by Pb in Saccharomyces cerevisiae was studied. Yeast cells Pb-exposed, up to 6 h, loss progressively the capacity to proliferate and maintained the membrane integrity evaluated by the fluorescent probes bis(1,3-dibutylbarbituric acid trimethine oxonol) and propidium iodide. Pb-induced death is an active process, requiring the participation of cellular metabolism, since the simultaneous addition of cycloheximide attenuated the loss of cell proliferation capacity. Cells exposed to Pb accumulated intracelullarly reactive oxygen species (ROS), evaluated by 2′,7′-dichlorodihydrofluorescein diacetate. The addition of ascorbic acid (a ROS scavenger) strongly reduced the oxidative stress and impaired the loss of proliferation capacity in Pb-treated cells. Pb-exposed cells displayed nuclear morphological alterations, like chromatin fragmentation, as revealed by diaminophenylindole staining. Together, the data obtained indicate that yeast cells exposition to 1 mmol/l Pb results in severe oxidative stress which can be the trigger of programmed cell death by apoptosis.


ApoptosisAscorbic acidLeadHeavy metals toxicityOxidative stressROS production

Supplementary material

253_2010_3056_MOESM1_ESM.ppt (462 kb)
ESM 1(PPT 462 kb)

Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag 2010

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Bioengineering Laboratory, Chemical Engineering DepartmentSuperior Institute of Engineering from Porto Polytechnic InstitutePortoPortugal
  2. 2.Department Industrial EngineeringKaHO St.-LievenGhentBelgium
  3. 3.IBB—Institute for Biotechnology and Bioengineering, Centre for Biological EngineeringUniversidade do MinhoBragaPortugal