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J Biol Chem. 2008 Jun 6;283(23):15893-902. doi: 10.1074/jbc.M708947200. Epub 2008 Apr 14.

Expression of the novel wheat gene TM20 confers enhanced cadmium tolerance to bakers' yeast.

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POSTECH-UZH Cooperative Laboratory, Division of Molecular Life Sciences, Pohang University of Science and Technology, Pohang, 790-784, Korea.


Cadmium causes the generation of reactive oxygen species, which in turn causes cell damage. We isolated a novel gene from a wheat root cDNA library, which conferred Cd(II)-specific tolerance when expressed in yeast (Saccharomyces cerevisiae). The gene, which we called TaTM20, for Triticum aestivum transmembrane 20, encodes a putative hydrophobic polypeptide of 889 amino acids, containing 20 transmembrane domains arranged as a 5-fold internal repeating unit of 4 transmembrane domains each. Expression of TaTM20 in yeast cells stimulated Cd(II) efflux resulting in a decrease in the content of yeast intracellular cadmium. TaTM20-induced Cd(II) tolerance was maintained in yeast even under conditions of reduced GSH. These results demonstrate that TaTM20 enhances Cd(II) tolerance in yeast through the stimulation of Cd(II) efflux from the cell, partially independent of GSH. Treatment of wheat seedlings with Cd(II) induced their expression of TaTM20, decreasing subsequent root Cd(II) accumulation and suggesting a possible role for TaTM20 in Cd(II) tolerance in wheat.

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