Yeast, a model organism for iron and copper metabolism studies

Biometals. 2003 Mar;16(1):185-97. doi: 10.1023/a:1020771000746.


Virtually all organisms on earth depend on transition metals for survival. Iron and copper are particularly important because they participate in vital electron transfer reactions, and are thus cofactors of many metabolic enzymes. Their ability to transfer electrons also render them toxic when present in excess. Disturbances of iron and copper steady-state levels can have profound effects on cellular metabolism, growth and development. It is critical to maintain these metals in a narrow range between utility and toxicity. Organisms ranging from bacteria and plants to mammals have developed sophisticated mechanisms to control metal homeostasis. In this review, we will present an overview of the current understanding of iron and copper metabolism in yeast, and the utility of yeast as a model organism to investigate iron and copper metabolism in mammals and plants.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Copper / metabolism*
  • Enzymes / genetics
  • Enzymes / metabolism
  • Homeostasis
  • Humans
  • Iron / metabolism*
  • Metal Metabolism, Inborn Errors / genetics
  • Metal Metabolism, Inborn Errors / metabolism*
  • Mitochondria / metabolism
  • Models, Biological
  • Molecular Chaperones / genetics
  • Molecular Chaperones / metabolism
  • Oxidative Stress / physiology
  • Saccharomyces cerevisiae / genetics
  • Saccharomyces cerevisiae / metabolism*


  • Enzymes
  • Molecular Chaperones
  • Copper
  • Iron