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Trends Biochem Sci. 2011 Oct;36(10):524-31. doi: 10.1016/j.tibs.2011.07.002. Epub 2011 Aug 16.

Hammering out details: regulating metal levels in eukaryotes.

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  • 1Department of Molecular Genetics, Ohio State University, Columbus, OH 43210, USA.


The transition metals zinc, iron and copper are common constituents in a wide range of proteins. Although these metals are all essential for life, when present in excess, they are frequently toxic to cell growth and viability. Therefore, all organisms rely on sophisticated mechanisms to maintain optimal levels of each metal. Genes that encode metal transport or storage proteins are often regulated at the transcriptional level in response to changes in metal status. In this review, we focus on what is known about the transcription factors that mediate these metal-dependent changes. Specifically, we highlight recent advances in our understanding of the mechanisms by which these factors sense metal ions.

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