The ATX1 gene of Saccharomyces cerevisiae was originally identified as a multi-copy suppressor of oxidative damage in yeast lacking superoxide dismutase. We now provide evidence that Atx1p helps deliver copper to the copper requiring oxidase Fet3p involved in iron uptake. atx1Δ null mutants are iron-deficient and are defective in the high affinity uptake of iron. These defects due to ATX1 inactivation are rescued by copper treatment, and the same has been reported for strains lacking either the cell surface copper transporter, Ctr1p, or the putative copper transporter in the secretory pathway, Ccc2p. Atx1p localizes to the cytosol, and our studies indicate that it functions as a carrier for copper that delivers the metal from the cell surface Ctr1p to Ccc2p and then to Fet3p within the secretory pathway. The iron deficiency of atx1 mutants is augmented by mutations in END3 blocking endocytosis, suggesting that a parallel pathway for intracellular copper trafficking is mediated by endocytosis. As additional evidence for the role of Atx1p in iron metabolism, we find that the gene is induced by the same iron-sensing trans-activator, Aft1p, that regulates CCC2 and FET3.
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