Saxitoxin is a potent neurotoxin produced by several species of dinoflagellates and cyanobacteria. The molecular target of saxitoxin in higher eukaryotes is the voltage-gated sodium channel; however, its target in lower eukaryotic organisms remains unknown. The goal of this study was to obtain the transcriptional fingerprint of the model lower eukaryote Saccharomyces cerevisiae upon exposure to saxitoxin to identify potential genes suitable for biomarker development. Microarray analyses identified multiple genes associated with copper and iron homeostasis and sulfur metabolism as significantly differentially expressed upon exposure to saxitoxin; these results were verified with quantitative reverse-transcriptase PCR (qRT-PCR). Additionally, the qRT-PCR assays were used to generate expression profiles in a subset of the differentially regulated genes across multiple exposure times and concentrations, the results of which demonstrated that overall, genes tended to respond in a consistent manner to the toxin. In general, the genes encoding the metallothioneins CUP1 and CRS5 were induced following exposure to saxitoxin, while those encoding the ferric/cupric reductase FRE1 and the copper uptake transporter CTR1 were repressed. The gene encoding the multicopper ferroxidase FET3, part of the high-affinity iron uptake system, was also induced in all treatments, along with the STR3 gene, which codes for the cystathionine beta-lyase found in the methionine biosynthetic pathway.
Available at: http://works.bepress.com/steven_wilhelm/7/