Applied Microbiology and Biotechnology

, Volume 101, Issue 14, pp 5749–5763 | Cite as

Heavy metal accumulation by Saccharomyces cerevisiae cells armed with metal binding hexapeptides targeted to the inner face of the plasma membrane

  • Lavinia Liliana Ruta
  • Ralph Kissen
  • Ioana Nicolau
  • Aurora Daniela Neagoe
  • Andrei José Petrescu
  • Atle M. Bones
  • Ileana Cornelia FarcasanuEmail author
Applied genetics and molecular biotechnology


Accumulation of heavy metals without developing toxicity symptoms is a phenotype restricted to a small group of plants called hyperaccumulators, whose metal-related characteristics suggested the high potential in biotechnologies such as bioremediation and bioextraction. In an attempt to extrapolate the heavy metal hyperaccumulating phenotype to yeast, we obtained Saccharomyces cerevisiae cells armed with non-natural metal-binding hexapeptides targeted to the inner face of the plasma membrane, expected to sequester the metal ions once they penetrated the cell. We describe the construction of S. cerevisiae strains overexpressing metal-binding hexapeptides (MeBHxP) fused to the carboxy-terminus of a myristoylated green fluorescent protein (myrGFP). Three non-toxic myrGFP-MeBHxP (myrGFP-H6, myrGFP-C6, and myrGFP-(DE)3) were investigated against an array of heavy metals in terms of their effect on S. cerevisiae growth, heavy metal (hyper) accumulation, and capacity to remove heavy metal from contaminated environments.


Heavy metal Metal-binding hexapeptide Accumulation Saccharomyces cerevisiae 



The research leading to these results has received funding from the Romanian—EEA Research Program operated by the Ministry of National Education under the EEA Financial Mechanism 2009-2014 and Project Contract No 21 SEE/30.06.2014.

Compliance with ethical standards


This study was funded by the EEA Financial Mechanism 2009–2014 (Contract No 21 SEE/30.06.2014).

Conflict of interest

The authors declare that they have no conflict of interest.

This article does not contain any studies with human participants or animals performed by any of the authors.

Supplementary material

253_2017_8335_MOESM1_ESM.pdf (407 kb)
ESM 1 (PDF 407 kb)


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 2017

Authors and Affiliations

  • Lavinia Liliana Ruta
    • 1
  • Ralph Kissen
    • 2
  • Ioana Nicolau
    • 1
  • Aurora Daniela Neagoe
    • 3
  • Andrei José Petrescu
    • 4
  • Atle M. Bones
    • 2
  • Ileana Cornelia Farcasanu
    • 1
    Email author
  1. 1.Faculty of ChemistryUniversity of BucharestBucharestRomania
  2. 2.Cell, Molecular Biology and Genomics Group, Department of BiologyNorwegian University of Science and TechnologyTrondheimNorway
  3. 3.Faculty of BiologyUniversity of BucharestBucharestRomania
  4. 4.Institute of Biochemistry of the Romanian AcademyBucharestRomania

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