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Curr Genet. 2003 Oct;44(1):8-18. Epub 2003 Jul 9.

Controlling transcription by destruction: the regulation of yeast Gcn4p stability.

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Institute of Microbiology and Genetics, Georg-August-University, Grisebachstrasse 8, 37077 Göttingen, Germany.


The Gcn4 protein, a member of the AP-1 family of transcription factors, is involved in the expression of more than 500 genes in the budding yeast Saccharomyces cerevisiae. A key role of Gcn4p is the increased expression of many amino acid biosynthesis genes in response to amino acid starvation. The accumulation of this transcription activator is mainly induced by efficient translation of the GCN4 ORF and by stabilisation of the Gcn4 protein. Under normal growth conditions, Gcn4p is a highly unstable protein, thereby resembling many eukaryotic transcription factors, including mammalian Jun and Myc proteins. Gcn4p is degraded by ubiquitin-dependent proteolysis mediated by the Skp1/cullin/F-box (SCF) ubiquitin ligase, which recognises specifically phosphorylated substrates. Two cyclin-dependent protein kinases, Pho85p and Srb10p, have crucial functions in regulating Gcn4p phosphorylation and degradation. The past few years have revealed many novel insights into these regulatory processes. Here, we summarise current knowledge about the factors and mechanisms regulating Gcn4p stability.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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