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J Biol Chem. 2008 May 16;283(20):13923-33. doi: 10.1074/jbc.M708683200. Epub 2008 Mar 24.

Direct regulation of genes involved in glucose utilization by the calcium/calcineurin pathway.

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  • 1Departament de Bioquímica i Biologia Molecular, Universitat Autònoma de Barcelona, Edificio V, Campus de Bellaterra, Cerdanyola, Barcelona 08193, Spain.


Failure to use glucose as carbon source results in transcriptional activation of numerous genes whose expression is otherwise repressed. HXT2 encodes a yeast high affinity glucose transporter that is only expressed under conditions of glucose limitation. We show that HXT2 is rapidly and potently induced by environmental alkalinization, and this requires both the Snf1 and the calcineurin pathways. Regulation by calcineurin is mediated by the transcription factor Crz1, which rapidly translocates to the nucleus upon high pH stress, and acts through a previously unnoticed Crz1-binding element (calcineurin-dependent response element) in the HXT2 promoter (-507 GGGGCTG -501). We demonstrate that, in addition to HXT2, many other genes required for adaptation to glucose shortage, such as HXT7, MDH2, or ALD4, transcriptionally respond to calcium and high pH signaling through binding of Crz1 to their promoters. Therefore, calcineurin-dependent transcriptional regulation appears to be a common feature for many genes encoding carbohydrate-metabolizing enzymes. Remarkably, extracellular calcium allows growth of a snf1 mutant on low glucose in a calcineurin/Crz1-dependent manner, indicating that activation of calcineurin is sufficient to override a major deficiency in the glucose-repression pathway. We propose that alkalinization of the medium results in impaired glucose utilization and that activation of certain glucose-metabolizing genes by calcineurin contributes to yeast survival under this stress situation.

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