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J Biol Chem. 2001 May 4;276(18):15472-80. Epub 2001 Jan 26.

The fission yeast copper-sensing transcription factor Cuf1 regulates the copper transporter gene expression through an Ace1/Amt1-like recognition sequence.

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  • 1Département de Biochimie, Université de Sherbrooke, Sherbrooke, Québec, J1H 5N4, Canada.


Transcriptional regulation of genes encoding critical components of copper transport is essential for copper homeostasis and growth in yeast. Analysis of regulatory regions in the promoter of the ctr4(+) copper transporter gene in fission yeast Schizosaccharomyces pombe reveals the identity of a conserved copper-signaling element (CuSE), which is recognized by the transcription factor Cuf1. We demonstrate that CuSE is necessary for transcriptional activation in response to copper deprivation conditions. Interestingly, the CuSE element bears a strong sequence similarity to the recognition site, denoted MRE (metal regulatory element), which is recognized by a distinct class of copper sensors required for copper detoxification, including Ace1 from Saccharomyces cerevisiae and Amt1 from Candida glabrata. When a consensus MRE from S. cerevisiae is introduced into S. pombe, transcription is induced by copper deprivation in a Cuf1-dependent manner, similar to regulation by Mac1, the nuclear sensor for regulating the expression of genes encoding components involved in copper transport in S. cerevisiae. UV-cross-linking experiments show that the Cuf1 protein directly binds the CuSE. These results demonstrate that the Cuf1 nutritional copper-sensing factor possesses a module that functions similarly to domains found in the Ace1/Amt1 class of metalloregulatory factors, which allows the protein to act through a closely related MRE-like sequence to regulate copper transport gene expression in S. pombe.

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