Multilayered control of gene expression by stress-activated protein kinases

EMBO J. 2010 Jan 6;29(1):4-13. doi: 10.1038/emboj.2009.346. Epub 2009 Nov 26.


Stress-activated protein kinases (SAPKs) are key elements for intracellular signalling networks that serve to respond and adapt to extracellular changes. Exposure of yeast to high osmolarity results in the activation of p38-related SAPK, Hog1, which is essential for reprogramming the gene expression capacity of the cell by regulation of several steps of the transcription process. At initiation, active Hog1 not only directly phosphorylates several transcription factors to alter their activities, but also associates at stress-responsive promoters through such transcription factors. Once at the promoters, Hog1 serves as a platform to recruit general transcription factors, chromatin-modifying activities and RNA Pol II. In addition, the SAPK pathway has a role in elongation. At the stress-responsive ORFs, Hog1 recruits the RSC chromatin-remodelling complex to modify nucleosome organization. Several SAPKs from yeast to mammals have maintained some of the regulatory abilities of Hog1. Thus, elucidating the control of gene expression by the Hog1 SAPK should help to understand how eukaryotic cells implement a massive and rapid change on their transcriptional capacity in response to adverse conditions.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Chromatin Assembly and Disassembly
  • DNA, Fungal / genetics
  • DNA, Fungal / metabolism
  • Gene Expression Regulation, Fungal
  • Genes, Fungal
  • Histone Deacetylases / metabolism
  • Humans
  • MAP Kinase Signaling System
  • Mitogen-Activated Protein Kinases / metabolism*
  • Models, Biological
  • Phosphorylation
  • Promoter Regions, Genetic
  • RNA, Fungal / genetics
  • RNA, Fungal / metabolism
  • RNA, Messenger / genetics
  • RNA, Messenger / metabolism
  • Saccharomyces cerevisiae / genetics
  • Saccharomyces cerevisiae / metabolism
  • Saccharomyces cerevisiae Proteins / metabolism
  • Stress, Physiological*
  • Transcription Factors / metabolism
  • Transcriptional Activation*


  • DNA, Fungal
  • RNA, Fungal
  • RNA, Messenger
  • Saccharomyces cerevisiae Proteins
  • Transcription Factors
  • HOG1 protein, S cerevisiae
  • Mitogen-Activated Protein Kinases
  • RPD3 protein, S cerevisiae
  • Histone Deacetylases