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Engineering expression of the heavy metal transporter MerC in Saccharomyces cerevisiae for increased cadmium accumulation

Kiyono, Masako, Miyahara, Kiyomi, Sone, Yuka, Pan-Hou, Hidemitsu, Uraguchi, Shimpei, Nakamura, Ryosuke, Sakabe, Kou
Applied microbiology and biotechnology 2010 v.86 no.2 pp. 753-759
engineering, green fluorescent protein, ions, heavy metals, bioremediation, yeasts, cadmium, Saccharomyces cerevisiae, operon, plasma membrane, endoplasmic reticulum
The merC gene from the Tn21-encoded mer operon has potential uses as a molecular tool for bioremediation. It was overexpressed as the fusion proteins MerC-Sso1p or MerC-Vam3p in Saccharomyces cerevisiae. Green fluorescent protein (GFP)-MerC-Sso1p fusion proteins located primarily in the plasma membrane, although some protein was detected in the endoplasmic reticulum. In contrast, GFP-MerC-Vam3p was expressed in the vacuolar membranes. These results suggest that yeast Sso1p and Vam3p are essential for targeting molecules to the plasma and vacuolar membranes, respectively. Significantly more cadmium ions were accumulated by yeast cells expressing MerC-Sso1p than with MerC-Vam3p or control cells. These results suggest that expression of MerC in the plasma membrane may be a particularly promising strategy for improving accumulation of cadmium in yeast.