Lithium it is definitely toxic to yeast. In Schizosaccharomyces pombe
action is on inositol-1-phosphate monophosphatase: overexpression of
the human IMP gene makes fission yeast largely resistant to lithium.
The effect is even stronger with a variant which is less inhibited
In Saccharomyces cerevisiae, the situation is somewhat uncertain.
Serrano's group has reported that in their strains lithium acts on an
enzyme in the methionine biosynthetic pathway, and toxicity can be
counteracted by supplementation of methionine. However, this does not
work with my strains of Saccharomyces (also in Schizosaccharomyces,
addition of methionine is without effect).
Institute of Cell, Animal and Population Biology
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e.mail fkippert at srv0.bio.ed.ac.uk