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Mol Cell Biol. 1989 Sep;9(9):4091-5.

The CUP2 gene product, regulator of yeast metallothionein expression, is a copper-activated DNA-binding protein.

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  • 1Department of Pharmacology, School of Medicine, University of California, San Diego, La Jolla 92093.


CUP2 is a regulatory gene controlling expression of CUP1, which encodes the Cu-binding yeast metallothionein. CUP2, which is identical to the ACE1 gene, encodes a Cu-regulated DNA-binding protein. The CUP2 protein contains a cysteine-rich DNA-binding domain dependent on Cu+ and Ag+ ions which bind the cysteine residues and direct the refolding of the metal-free apoprotein. CUP2 mutant alleles from Cu-sensitive yeast strains have point mutations affecting the DNA-binding activity. These results establish CUP2 as the primary sensor of intracellular Cu+ in the yeast Saccharomyces cerevisiae, functioning as a Cu+-regulated transcriptional activator.

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