The transcriptional response to alkaline pH in Saccharomyces cerevisiae: evidence for calcium-mediated signalling

Mol Microbiol. 2002 Dec;46(5):1319-33. doi: 10.1046/j.1365-2958.2002.03246.x.


The short-time transcriptional response of yeast cells to a mild increase in external pH (7.6) has been investigated using DNA microarrays. A total of 150 genes increased their mRNA level at least twofold within 45 min. Alkalinization resulted in the repression of 232 genes. The response of four upregulated genes, ENA1 (encoding a Na+-ATPase also induced by saline stress) and PHO84, PHO89 and PHO12 (encoding genes upregulated by phosphate starvation), was characterized further. The alkaline response of ENA1 was not affected by mutation of relevant genes involved in osmotic or oxidative signalling, but was decreased in calcineurin and rim101 mutants. Mapping of the ENA1 promoter revealed two pH-responsive regions. The response of the upstream region was fully abolished by the drug FK506 or mutation of CRZ1 (a transcription factor activated by calcium/calcineurin), whereas the response of the downstream region was essentially calcium independent. PHO84 and PHO12 responses were unaffected in crz1 cells, but required the presence of Pho2 and Pho4. In contrast, part of the alkali-induced expression of PHO89 was maintained in pho4 or pho2 cells, but was fully abolished in a crz1 strain or in the presence of FK506. Heterologous promoters carrying the minimal calcineurin-dependent response elements found in ENA1 or FKS2 were able to drive alkaline pH-induced expression. These results demonstrate that the transcriptional response to alkaline pH involves different signalling mechanisms, and that calcium signalling is a relevant component of this response.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Base Sequence
  • Calcium Signaling*
  • Gene Expression Profiling
  • Gene Expression Regulation, Fungal
  • Genome, Fungal
  • Heat-Shock Response*
  • Hydrogen-Ion Concentration
  • Molecular Sequence Data
  • Oligonucleotide Array Sequence Analysis
  • Saccharomyces cerevisiae / genetics
  • Saccharomyces cerevisiae / metabolism
  • Saccharomyces cerevisiae / physiology*
  • Saccharomyces cerevisiae Proteins / genetics
  • Saccharomyces cerevisiae Proteins / metabolism*
  • Transcription, Genetic*


  • Saccharomyces cerevisiae Proteins