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Nat Biotechnol. 2003 Aug;21(8):914-9. Epub 2003 Jul 20.

Engineering tolerance and accumulation of lead and cadmium in transgenic plants.

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National Research Laboratory for Phytoremediation, Division of Molecular Life Sciences, Pohang, 790-784, Korea.


We have studied the utility of the yeast protein YCF1, which detoxifies cadmium by transporting it into vacuoles, for the remediation of lead and cadmium contamination. We found that the yeast YCF1-deletion mutant DTY167 was hypersensitive to Pb(II) as compared with wild-type yeast. DTY167 cells overexpressing YCF1 were more resistant to Pb(II) and Cd(II) than were wild-type cells, and accumulated more lead and cadmium. Analysis of transgenic Arabidopsis thaliana plants overexpressing YCF1 showed that YCF1 is functionally active and that the plants have enhanced tolerance of Pb(II) and Cd(II) and accumulated greater amounts of these metals. These results suggest that transgenic plants expressing YCF1 may be useful for phytoremediation of lead and cadmium.

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