Copper and zinc are essential trace elements participating in many physiological functions, notably immunity and protection against oxidative stress. Yeasts and the yeast Saccharomyces cerevisiae, in particular, possess in their genome tandem repeats of the CUP1 gene coding for a protein (a metallothionein) capable of capturing and binding toxic elements such as copper ions. The number of copies of this gene in a cell determines its physiological level of resistance to these ions. This paper describes the selection, characterization, and production of a new copper-resistant yeast strain that can bind large quantities of copper and zinc. This approach should lead to increasing the bioavailability of these trace elements and hence to reducing their emission into the environment.
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