Background: Expression of a large number of yeast genes is repressed by glucose. The zinc finger protein Mig1 is the main effector in glucose repression, but yeast also has two related proteins: Mig2 and Mig3. We have used microarrays to study global gene expression in all possible combinations of mig1, mig2 and mig3 deletion mutants.
Results: Mig1 and Mig2 repress a largely overlapping set of genes on 2% glucose. Genes that are upregulated in a mig1 mig2 double mutant were grouped according to the contribution of Mig2. Most of them show partially redundant repression, with Mig1 being the major repressor, but some genes show complete redundancy, and some are repressed only by Mig1. Several redundantly repressed genes are involved in phosphate metabolism. The promoters of these genes are enriched for Pho4 sites, a novel GGGAGG motif, and a variant Mig1 site which is absent from genes repressed only by Mig1. Genes repressed only by Mig1 on 2% glucose include the hexose transporter gene HXT4, but Mig2 contributes to HXT4 repression on 10% glucose. HXT6 is one of the few genes that are more strongly repressed by Mig2. Mig3 does not seem to overlap in function with Mig1 and Mig2. Instead, Mig3 downregulates the SIR2 gene encoding a histone deacetylase involved in gene silencing and the control of aging.
Conclusion: Mig2 fine-tunes glucose repression by targeting a subset of the Mig1-repressed genes, and by responding to higher glucose concentrations. Mig3 does not target the same genes as Mig1 and Mig2, but instead downregulates the SIR2 gene.