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Friday 14 June 2002

New regulators of drug sensitivity in the family of yeast zinc cluster proteins.

By: Akache B, Turcotte B.

J Biol Chem 2002 Jun 14;277(24):21254-60

The Gal4p family of yeast zinc cluster proteins comprises over 50 members that are putative transcriptional regulators. For example, Pdr1p and Pdr3p activate multidrug resistance genes by binding to pleiotropic drug response elements (PDREs) found in promoters of target genes such as PDR5, encoding a drug efflux pump involved in resistance to cycloheximide. However, the role of many zinc cluster proteins is unknown. We tested a panel of strains carrying deletions of zinc cluster genes in the presence of various drugs. One deletion strain (Deltardr1) was resistant to cycloheximide, whereas eight strains showed sensitivity to the antifungal ketoconazole or cycloheximide. Unnamed zinc cluster genes identified in our screen were called RDS for regulators of drug sensitivity. RNA levels of multidrug resistance genes such as PDR16, SNQ2, and PDR5 were decreased in many deletion strains. For example, cycloheximide sensitivity of a Deltastb5 strain was correlated with decreased RNA levels and promoter activity of the PDR5 gene. We tested if activation of PDR5 is mediated via a PDRE by inserting this DNA element in front of a minimal promoter linked to the lacZ gene. Strikingly, activity of the reporter was decreased in a Deltastb5 strain. The purified DNA binding domain of Stb5p bound to a PDRE in vitro. Mutations in the PDRE known to affect binding of Pdr1p/Pdr3p showed similar effects when assayed with Stb5p. These results strongly suggest that Stb5p is a transcriptional activator of multidrug resistance genes. Thus, we have identified new regulators of drug sensitivity in the family of zinc cluster proteins.

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