The Saccharomyces cerevisiae YAP2 gene encoding an AP-1-like transcriptional activator protein was cloned by selection for genes that confer pleiotropic drug resistance when present in high copy number. The novel YAP2 gene encodes a protein of 45827 daltons and is homologous in part to a known transcriptional activator protein encoded by YAP1/PDR4/SNQ3/PAR1. Homology was found only in both terminal regions. The N-terminal portion contains a region rich in basic amino acids, followed by a "leucine zipper" motif. Overexpression of YAP2 led to the induction of expression of an AP-1 recognition element (ARE)-dependent promoter. The yap1 disruptant has been shown to be sensitive to H2O2. In this study, we demonstrated that the yap1 disruptant is also unable to grow in medium containing 150 microM cadmium, whereas the yap2 disruptant exhibited no significant phenotypes. However, YAP2 in high copy number did suppress cadmium sensitivity, but not H2O2 sensitivity of the yap1 disruptant. YAP1 was able to mediate both cadmium- and H2O2-induced transcriptional activation of an ARE-dependent promoter. A high-copy-number plasmid bearing YAP2 mediated cadmium-induced transcriptional activation of this promoter. The inductions were prevented by the antioxidant N-acetyl-L-cysteine.