Cell Stress and Chaperones

, Volume 23, Issue 4, pp 581–594 | Cite as

Generation and propagation of yeast prion [URE3] are elevated under electromagnetic field

  • Hui-Yong LianEmail author
  • Kang-Wei Lin
  • Chuanjun Yang
  • Peng CaiEmail author
Original Paper


In this study, we studied the effect of 2.0 GHz radio frequency electromagnetic field (RF-EMF) and 50 Hz extremely low frequency electromagnetic field (ELF-EMF) exposure on prion generation and propagation using two budding yeast strains, NT64C and SB34, as model organisms. Under exposure to RF-EMF or ELF-EMF, the de novo generation and propagation of yeast prions [URE3] were elevated in both strains. The elevation increased over time, and the effects of ELF-EMF occurred in a dose-dependent manner. The transcription and expression levels of the molecular chaperones Hsp104, Hsp70-Ssa1/2, and Hsp40-Ydj1 were not statistically significantly changed after exposure. Furthermore, the levels of ROS, as well as the activities of superoxide dismutase (SOD) and catalase (CAT), were significantly elevated after short-term, but not long-term exposure. This work demonstrated for the first time that EMF exposure could elevate the de novo generation and propagation of yeast prions and supports the hypothesis that ROS may play a role in the effects of EMF on protein misfolding. The effects of EMF on protein folding and ROS levels may mediate the broad effects of EMF on cell function.





We express our gratitude to Dr. Gary Jones (NUI Maynooth, Ireland) for kindly providing the yeast strains. The valuable assistance of Mr. Shen Tian on painting of Fig. 9 is gratefully acknowledged.

Author contribution

KWL and HYL performed all experiments. CJY, HYL, and KWL constructed and maintained the exposure systems. HYL conceived the study. HYL, KWL, and PC wrote the manuscript. PC led the project and reviewed the manuscript.

Funding information

This work was supported by the Scientific Equipment Development Project of the Chinese Academy of Sciences (CAS) (YZ201104&YZ201205), the Xiamen Science and Technology Plans Project (3502Z20126012), the National Natural Science Foundation of China (31270888), and the Natural Science Foundation of Fujian Province (2012J01157).

Supplementary material

12192_2017_867_MOESM1_ESM.doc (554 kb)
ESM 1 (DOC 553 kb)
12192_2017_867_MOESM2_ESM.doc (219 kb)
ESM 2 (DOC 219 kb)
12192_2017_867_MOESM3_ESM.doc (26 kb)
ESM 3 (DOC 26.5 kb)


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Copyright information

© Cell Stress Society International 2017

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Xiamen Key Laboratory of Physical Environment, Key Laboratory of Urban Environment and Health, Institute of Urban EnvironmentChinese Academy of SciencesXiamenPeople’s Republic of China
  2. 2.College of Life Sciences and EcologyHainan Tropical Ocean UniversitySanyaPeople’s Republic of China
  3. 3.University of the Chinese Academy of SciencesBeijingPeople’s Republic of China

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