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Toxicol Sci. 2009 Oct;111(2):437-46. doi: 10.1093/toxsci/kfp170. Epub 2009 Jul 23.

Actin-mediated endocytosis limits intracellular Cr accumulation and Cr toxicity during chromate stress.

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School of Biology, Institute of Genetics, The University of Nottingham, University Park, Nottingham, UK.


Chromate toxicity is well documented, but the underlying toxic mechanism(s) has yet to be fully elucidated. Following a Cr toxicity screen against > 6000 heterozygous yeast mutants, here we show that Cr resistance requires normal function of the cortical actin cytoskeleton. Furthermore, Cr-stressed yeast cells exhibited an increased number of actin patches, the sites of endocytosis. This was coincident with a marked stimulation of endocytosis following Cr exposure. Genetic dissection of actin nucleation from endocytosis revealed that endocytosis, specifically, was required for Cr resistance. A series of further endocytosis mutants (sac6Delta, chc1Delta, end3Delta) exhibited elevated Cr sensitivity. These mutants also showed markedly elevated cellular Cr accumulation, explaining their sensitivities. In wild-type cells, an initial endocytosis-independent phase of Cr uptake was followed by an endocytosis-dependent decline in Cr accumulation. The results indicate that actin-mediated endocytosis is required to limit Cr accumulation and toxicity. It is proposed that this involves ubiquitin-dependent endocytic inactivation of a plasma membrane Cr transporter(s). We showed that such an action was not dependent on the transporters that have been characterized to date, the sulfate (and chromate) permeases Sul1p and Sul2p.

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