The basic amino acid histidine inhibited yeast cell growth more severely than lysine and arginine. Overexpression of CTR1, which encodes a high-affinity copper transporter on the plasma membrane, or addition of copper to the medium alleviated this cytotoxicity. However, the intracellular level of copper ions was not decreased in the presence of excess histidine. These results indicate that histidine cytotoxicity is associated with low copper availability inside cells, not with impaired copper uptake. Furthermore, histidine did not affect cell growth under limited respiration conditions, suggesting that histidine cytotoxicity is involved in deficiency of mitochondrial copper.
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