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Mol Biol Rep. 2011 Mar;38(3):1567-74. doi: 10.1007/s11033-010-0265-1. Epub 2010 Sep 12.

Tamarix hispida metallothionein-like ThMT3, a reactive oxygen species scavenger, increases tolerance against Cd(2+), Zn(2+), Cu(2+), and NaCl in transgenic yeast.

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  • 1Key Laboratory of Forest Improvement and Biotechnology, Ministry of Education, Northeast Forestry University, Harbin 150040, People's Republic of China.


A metallothionein-like gene, ThMT3, encoding a type 3 metallothionein, was isolated from a Tamarix hispida leaf cDNA library. Expression analysis revealed that mRNA of ThMT3 was upregulated by high salinity as well as by heavy metal ions, and that ThMT3 was predominantly expressed in the leaf. Transgenic yeast (Saccharomyces cerevisiae) expressing ThMT3 showed increased tolerance to Cd(2+), Zn(2+), Cu(2+), and NaCl stress. Transgenic yeast also accumulated more Cd(2+), Zn(2+), and NaCl, but not Cu(2+). Analysis of the expression of four genes (GLR1, GTT2, GSH1, and YCF1) that aid in transporting heavy metal (Cd(2+)) from the cytoplasm to the vacuole demonstrated that none of these genes were induced under Cd(2+), Zn(2+), Cu(2+), and NaCl stress in ThMT3-transgenic yeast. H(2)O(2) levels in transgenic yeast under such stress conditions were less than half those in control yeast under the same conditions. Three antioxidant genes (SOD1, CAT1, and GPX1) were specifically expressed under Cd(2+), Zn(2+), Cu(2+), and NaCl stress in the transgenic yeast. Cd(2+), Zn(2+), and Cu(2+) increased the expression levels of SOD1, CAT1, and GPX1, respectively, whereas NaCl induced the expression of SOD1 and GPX1.

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