Because of its specific electrochemical properties, copper is an essential heavy metal for living organisms. As with other heavy metals, high levels can provoke damage. We examined gene expression under copper stress in wild-type fission yeast (Schizosaccharomyces pombe) through differential display. After the EC50 concentration of CuSO4 was determined as 50 mu M, total RNA was isolated from cells treated or not with copper. The expression level of SPCC1682.13, ppk 1, SPBC2F12.05c, and adg2 genes increased significantly under copper stress. Considering the functions of these genes are related to the cell cycle, cell division and chromosome dynamics, we hypothesize that retardation of the cell cycle under copper stress is relevant to the events that depend on the functions of these genes.