Our previous study suggested that increased cytoplasmic calcium (Ca) signals may mediate aluminum (Al) toxicity in yeast (Saccharomyces cerevisiae). In this report, we found that a yeast mutant, pmc1, lacking the vacuolar calcium ion (Ca(2+)) pump Ca(2+)-ATPase (Pmc1p), was more sensitive to Al treatment than the wild-type strain. Overexpression of either PMC1 or an anti-apoptotic factor, such as Bcl-2, Ced-9 or PpBI-1, decreased cytoplasmic Ca(2+) levels and rescued yeast from Al sensitivity in both the wild-type and pmc1 mutant. Moreover, pretreatment with the Ca(2+) chelator BAPTA-AM sustained cytoplasmic Ca(2+) at low levels in the presence of Al, effectively making the cells more tolerant to Al exposure. Quantitative RT-PCR revealed that the expression of calmodulin (CaM) and phospholipase C (PLC), which are in the Ca(2+) signaling pathway, was down-regulated under Al stress. This effect was largely counteracted when cells overexpressed anti-apoptotic Ced-9 or were pretreated with BAPTA-AM. Taken together, our results suggest that the negative regulation of Al-induced cytoplasmic Ca signaling is a novel mechanism underlying internal resistance to Al toxicity.
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