The fission yeast Schizosaccharomyces pombe has been successfully used as a model to gain fundamental knowledge in understanding how eukaryotic cells acquire copper during vegetative growth. These studies have revealed the existence of a heteromeric Ctr4–Ctr5 plasma membrane complex that mediates uptake of copper within the cells. Furthermore, additional studies have led to the identification of one of the first vacuolar copper transporters, Ctr6, as well as the copper-responsive Cuf1 transcription factor. Recent investigations have extended the use of S. pombe to elucidate new roles for copper metabolism in meiotic differentiation. For example, these studies have led to the discovery of Mfc1, which turned out to be the first example of a meiosis-specific copper transporter. Whereas copper-dependent transcriptional regulation of the Ctr family members is under the control of Cuf1 during mitosis or meiosis, meiosis-specific copper transporter Mfc1 is regulated by the recently discovered transactivator Mca1. It is foreseeable that identification of novel meiotic copper-related proteins will serve as stepping stones to unravel fundamental aspects of copper homoeostasis.

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