Saccharomyces cerevisiae and Neurospora crassa contain heavy metal sequestering phytochelatin

Ralf Kneer, Toni M. Kutchan, Andreas Hochberger, Meinhart H. Zenk

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68 Scopus citations


In fungi, cellular resistance to heavy metal cytotoxicity is mediated either by binding of metal ions to proteins of the metallothionein type or by chelation to phytochelatin-peptides of the general formula (γ-Glu-Cys)n-Gly. Hitherto, only one fungus, Candida glabrata has been shown to contain both metal inactivating systems. Here we show by unambiguous FAB-MS analysis that both a metallothionein-free mutant of Saccharomyces cerevisiae as well as a wildtype strain synthesize phytochelatin (PC2) upon exposure to 250 μM Cd2+ ions. The presence of Zn and/or Cu ions in the nutrient broth also induces PC2 synthesis in this organism. By 109Cd exchange and subsequent monobromobimane fluorescence HPLC, it could be shown that the presence of Cd2+ in the growth medium also induces phytochelatin synthesis in Neurospora crassa, which contains metallothioneins.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)305-310
Number of pages6
JournalArchives of Microbiology
Issue number4
StatePublished - Apr 1992


  • Heavy metal detoxification
  • Metallothionein
  • Neurospora crassa
  • Phytochelatin
  • Saccharomyces cerevisiae


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