Transcription of the Saccharomyces cerevisiae CTT1 gene encoding the cytosolic catalase T is activated by a variety of stress conditions: it is derepressed by nitrogen starvation and induced by heat shock. Furthermore, it is activated by osmotic and oxidative stress. This study shows that a CTT1 upstream region previously found to be involved in nitrogen, cAMP and heat control (base pairs -382 to -325) contains a UAS element (STRE, -368 to -356), which is sufficient for the activation of a reporter gene by all types of stress acting on CTT1. Gel retardation experiments demonstrated the existence of a factor specifically binding to STRE, but to a lesser extent to mutated elements having partly or entirely lost the ability to mediate stress control. Heat activation of STRE, but not of a canonical heat shock element, is enhanced by a ras2 defect mutation, which enhances thermotolerance, and is dramatically reduced by a bcy1 disruption mutation, which decreases thermotolerance. It can be hypothesized, therefore, that the novel stress control element is important for the establishment of induced stress tolerance.