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ABSTRACT: SMKT (salt-mediated killer toxin), a killer toxin produced by the halotolerant yeast, Pichia farinosa, kills yeasts of several genera, including Saccharomyces cerevisiae. To elucidate the killing mechanism of SMKT, we examined the interaction of SMKT with membranes using liposomes. Leakage of calcein from calcein-entrapped liposomes was observed in the presence of SMKT. Destruction of liposomes was observed by dark-field microscopy. Comparison of intact S. cerevisiae cells with SMKT-treated cells by dark-field microscopy indicated that the spherical cell membrane is disrupted by SMKT. Using sodium carbonate extraction, we obtained direct evidence for the first time that SMKT is associated with the membrane of sensitive cells. Our results indicate that SMKT kills sensitive S. cerevisiae by interacting with the yeast cell membrane.
Yeast 01/2002; 18(16):1471-8. · 1.96 Impact Factor