Characteristics of copper tolerance in Yarrowia lipolytica
We discovered that a mutant strain of the dimorphic yeast Yarrowia lipolytica could grow in the yeast form in high concentrations of copper sulfate. The amount of metal accumulated by Y. lipolytica increased with increasing copper concentrations in the medium. Washing with 100 mM EDTA released at least 60% of the total metal from the cells, but about 20–25 μmol/g DW persisted, which represented about 30% of the soluble fraction of cultured cells. The soluble fraction (mainly cytosol) contained only about 10% of the total metal content within cells cultured in medium supplemented with 6 mM copper. We suggest that although a high copper concentration induces an efflux mechanism, the released copper becomes entrapped in the periplasm and in other parts of the cell wall. Washing with EDTA liberated not only copper ions, but also melanin, a brown pigment that can bind metal and which located at the cell wall. These findings indicated that melanin participates in the mechanism of metal accumulation. Culture in medium supplemented with copper obviously enhanced the activities of Cu, Zn-SOD, but not of Mn-SOD.
Keywordscopper tolerance melanin superoxide dismutase (SOD) activity Yarrowia lipolytica
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