Stress factors acting at the level of the plasma membrane induce transcription via the stress response element (STRE) of the yeast Saccharomyces cerevisiae

Mol Microbiol. 1999 Jun;32(6):1263-72. doi: 10.1046/j.1365-2958.1999.01438.x.


A variety of stress factors induces transcription via the stress response element (STRE) present in control regions of a number of genes of the yeast Saccharomyces cerevisiae. Induction of transcription involves nuclear translocation of the STRE-binding transcription activators Msn2p and Msn4p. The primary cellular events triggering this translocation are presently not well understood. In this investigation, we have observed that a number of factors acting at the level of the yeast plasma membrane, including the antifungal agent nystatin, the steroidal alkaloid tomatine, benzyl alcohol, a number of detergents and the plasma membrane H+-ATPase inhibitor diethylstilbestrol or mutations in the PMA1 gene encoding the plasma membrane ATPase, induce Msn2p nuclear accumulation and STRE-dependent transcription. At least some of the stress factors acting via STREs cause an increase in plasma membrane permeability, leading to a decrease in membrane potential, which might be a primary cellular stress signal. A decrease in internal pH triggered by permeabilization of the plasma membrane or a change in cAMP levels are at least not obligatory factors in intracellular stress signal transduction. The signal transduction pathway transmitting the signal generated at the plasma membrane to Msn2p is still unknown.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Acids
  • Adenosine Triphosphatases / antagonists & inhibitors
  • Antifungal Agents / pharmacology*
  • Biological Transport
  • Cell Membrane
  • Cell Nucleus / metabolism
  • Cyclic AMP-Dependent Protein Kinases / metabolism
  • Cytoplasm / metabolism
  • DNA-Binding Proteins / genetics
  • DNA-Binding Proteins / metabolism
  • Diethylstilbestrol / pharmacology
  • Fungal Proteins / genetics
  • Fungal Proteins / metabolism
  • Gene Expression Regulation, Fungal / drug effects*
  • Green Fluorescent Proteins
  • Intracellular Fluid
  • Luminescent Proteins / genetics
  • Luminescent Proteins / metabolism
  • Mutagenesis
  • Nystatin / pharmacology
  • Proton-Translocating ATPases / genetics
  • Proton-Translocating ATPases / metabolism
  • Recombinant Fusion Proteins / genetics
  • Recombinant Fusion Proteins / metabolism
  • Response Elements*
  • Saccharomyces cerevisiae / genetics*
  • Saccharomyces cerevisiae / metabolism
  • Saccharomyces cerevisiae Proteins*
  • Transcription Factors / genetics
  • Transcription Factors / metabolism
  • Transcription, Genetic / drug effects*
  • Transcriptional Activation


  • Acids
  • Antifungal Agents
  • DNA-Binding Proteins
  • Fungal Proteins
  • Luminescent Proteins
  • MSN2 protein, S cerevisiae
  • PMA2 protein, S cerevisiae
  • Recombinant Fusion Proteins
  • Saccharomyces cerevisiae Proteins
  • Transcription Factors
  • Nystatin
  • Green Fluorescent Proteins
  • Diethylstilbestrol
  • Cyclic AMP-Dependent Protein Kinases
  • Adenosine Triphosphatases
  • PMA1 protein, S cerevisiae
  • Proton-Translocating ATPases