Cytosolic superoxide dismutase (SOD1) is critical for tolerating the oxidative stress of zinc deficiency in yeast.
Zinc deficiency causes oxidative stress in many organisms including the yeast Saccharomyces cerevisiae. Previous studies of this yeast indicated that the Tsa1 peroxiredoxin is required for optimal growth in low zinc because of its role in degrading H(2)O(2). In this report, we assessed the importance of other antioxidant genes to zinc-limited growth. Our results indicated that the cytosolic superoxide dismutase Sod1 is also critical for growth under zinc-limiting conditions. We also found that Ccs1, the copper-delivering chaperone required for Sod1 activity is essential for optimal zinc-limited growth. To our knowledge, this is the first demonstration of the important roles these proteins play under this condition. It has been proposed previously that a loss of Sod1 activity due to inefficient metallation is one source of reactive oxygen species (ROS) under zinc-limiting conditions. Consistent with this hypothesis, we found that both the level and activity of Sod1 is diminished in zinc-deficient cells. However, under conditions in which Sod1 was overexpressed in zinc-limited cells and activity was restored, we observed no decrease in ROS levels. Thus, these data indicate that while Sod1 activity is critical for low zinc growth, diminished Sod1 activity is not a major source of the elevated ROS observed under these conditions.