The variety of environmental stresses is probably the major challenge imposed on transcription activators and the transcriptional machinery. To precisely describe the very early genomic response developed by yeast to accommodate a chemical stress, we performed time course analyses of the modifications of the yeast gene expression program which immediately follows the addition of the antimitotic drug benomyl. Similar analyses were conducted with different isogenic yeast strains in which genes coding for relevant transcription factors were deleted and coupled with efficient bioinformatics tools. Yap1 and Pdr1, two well-known key mediators of stress tolerance, appeared to be responsible for the very rapid establishment of a transient transcriptional response encompassing 119 genes. Yap1, which plays a predominant role in this response, binds, in vivo, promoters of genes which are not automatically up-regulated. We proposed that Yap1 nuclear localization and DNA binding are necessary but not sufficient to elicit the specificity of the chemical stress response.