Effects of tellurite on growth of Saccharomyces cerevisiae
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The effects of potassium tellurite on growth and survival of rho+ and rho0 Saccharomyces cerevisiae strains were investigated. Both rho+ and rho0 strains grew on a fermentable carbon source with up to 1.2 mM K2TeO3, while rho+ yeast cells grown on a non-fermentable carbon source were inhibited at tellurite levels as low as 50 μM suggesting that this metalloid specifically inhibited mitochondrial functions. Growth of rho+ yeast cells in the presence of increasing amount of tellurite resulted in dose-dependent blackening of the culture, a phenomenon not observed with rho0 cultures. Transmission electron microscopy of S. cerevisiae rho+ cells grown in the presence of tellurite showed that blackening was likely due to elemental tellurium (Te0) that formed large deposits along the cell wall and small precipitates in both the cytoplasm and mitochondria.
KeywordsTellurite Saccharomyces cerevisiae Mitochondria Transmission electronic microscopy
The research was supported by Compagnia di San Paolo special grant “iniziativa” to L. Del Giudice. P. Pontieri was supported by a postdoctoral grant from the Istituto Banco di Napoli, Fondazione.
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