Most investigations into plasma membrane electron transport (PMET) in Saccharomyces cerevisiae have focused on the inducible ferric reductase responsible for iron uptake under iron/copper-limiting conditions. In this paper, we describe a PMET system, distinct from ferric reductase, which reduces the cell-impermeable water-soluble tetrazolium dye, 2-(4-iodophenyl)-3-(4-nitrophenyl)-5-(2,4-disulphophenyl)-2H-tetrazolium monosodium salt (WST-1), under normal iron/copper conditions. WST-1/1-methoxy-phenazine methosulphate reduction was unaffected by anoxia and relatively insensitive to diphenyleneiodonium. Dye reduction was increased when intracellular NADH levels were high, which, in S. cerevisiae, required deletion of numerous genes associated with NADH recycling. Genome-wide screening of all viable nuclear gene-deletion mutants of S. cerevisiae revealed that, although mitochondrial electron transport per se was not required, the presence of several nuclear and mitochondrially encoded subunits of respiratory complexes III and IV was mandatory for PMET. This suggests some form of interaction between components of mitochondrial and plasma membrane electron transport. In support of this, mitochondrial tubular networks in S. cerevisiae were shown to be located in close proximity to the plasma membrane using confocal microscopy.
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