We previously showed that the expression of the Saccharomyces cerevisiae MAG 3-methyladenine (3MeA) DNA glycosylase gene, like that of the E. coli alkA 3MeA DNA glycosylase gene, is induced by alkylating agents. Here we show that the MAG induction mechanism differs from that of alkA, at least in part, because MAG mRNA levels are not only induced by alkylating agents but also by UV light and the UV-mimetic agent 4-nitroquinoline-1-oxide. Unlike some other yeast DNA-damage-inducible genes, MAG expression is not induced by heat shock. The S. cerevisiae MGT1 O6-methylguanine DNA methyltransferase is not involved in regulating MAG gene expression since MAG is efficiently induced in a methyltransferase deficient strain; similarly, MAG glycosylase deficient strains and four other methylmethane sulfonate sensitive strains were normal for alkylation-induced MAG gene expression. However, de novo protein synthesis is required to elevate MAG mRNA levels because MAG induction was abolished in the presence of cycloheximide. MAG mRNA levels were equally well induced in cycling and G1-arrested cells, suggesting that MAG induction is not simply due to a redistribution of cells into a part of the cell cycle which happens to express MAG at high levels, and that the inhibition of DNA synthesis does not act as the inducing signal.