DNA microarrays were used to investigate the expression profile of yeast genes in response to ethanol. Up to 3.1% of the genes encoded in the yeast genome were up-regulated by at least a factor of three after 30 min ethanol stress (7% v/v). Concomitantly, 3.2% of the genes were down-regulated by a factor of three. Of the genes up-regulated in response to ethanol 49.4% belong to the environmental stress response and 14.2% belong to the stress gene family. Our data show that in addition to the previously identified ethanol-induced genes, a very large number of genes involved in ionic homeostasis, heat protection, trehalose synthesis and antioxidant defence also respond to ethanol stress. It appears that a large number of the up-regulated genes are involved in energy metabolism. Thus, 'management' of the energy pool (especially ATP) seems to constitute an ethanol stress response and to involve different mechanisms.