Functional profiling discovers the dieldrin organochlorinated pesticide affects leucine availability in yeast

Toxicol Sci. 2013 Apr;132(2):347-58. doi: 10.1093/toxsci/kft018. Epub 2013 Jan 28.


Exposure to organochlorinated pesticides such as dieldrin has been linked to Parkinson's and Alzheimer's diseases, endocrine disruption, and cancer, but the cellular and molecular mechanisms of toxicity behind these effects remain largely unknown. Here we demonstrate, using a functional genomics approach in the model eukaryote Saccharomyces cerevisiae, that dieldrin alters leucine availability. This model is supported by multiple lines of congruent evidence: (1) mutants defective in amino acid signaling or transport are sensitive to dieldrin, which is reversed by the addition of exogenous leucine; (2) dieldrin sensitivity of wild-type or mutant strains is dependent upon leucine concentration in the media; (3) overexpression of proteins that increase intracellular leucine confer resistance to dieldrin; (4) leucine uptake is inhibited in the presence of dieldrin; and (5) dieldrin induces the amino acid starvation response. Additionally, we demonstrate that appropriate negative regulation of the Ras/protein kinase A pathway, along with an intact pyruvate dehydrogenase complex, is required for dieldrin tolerance. Many yeast genes described in this study have human orthologs that may modulate dieldrin toxicity in humans.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Dieldrin / metabolism*
  • Hydrocarbons, Chlorinated / metabolism*
  • Leucine / metabolism*
  • Pesticides / metabolism*
  • Saccharomyces cerevisiae / metabolism*


  • Hydrocarbons, Chlorinated
  • Pesticides
  • Leucine
  • Dieldrin