The structural genes for gluconeogenesis in the yeast Saccharomyces cerevisiae are activated by the carbon source-responsive element (CSRE) found in the respective upstream regions. Regulatory genes CAT8 and SIP4 both encode zinc-cluster proteins which can bind to CSRE motifs and activate target genes under conditions of glucose deprivation. In this work, we describe a functional analysis of sequence variants containing single mutations within the strongly activating CSRE(ICL1) motif. While the sequence CCNNNNNNCCG was required as the minimal UAS for gene activation by both Cat8 and Sip4, the activators responded differently to sequence variations in the central part of the CSRE. Our results allowed us to derive a consensus sequence for efficient gene activation by Cat8 (YCCNYTNRKCCG), while a more specific motif is required for activation by Sip4 (TCCATTSRTCCGR). Although their zinc cluster domains are clearly related, Cat8 and Sip4 are not isofunctional. This conclusion is further supported by the finding that biosynthetic derepression of Cat8 in the presence of a nonfermentable carbon source precedes that of Sip4 by about 90 min.