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J Biol Chem. 2006 Oct 27;281(43):32909-21. Epub 2006 Aug 22.

Genome-wide analysis reveals new roles for the activation domains of the Saccharomyces cerevisiae heat shock transcription factor (Hsf1) during the transient heat shock response.

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Department of Biochemistry and Molecular Biophysics, University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine, Rm. 814 Stellar-Chance Bldg., 422 Curie Boulevard, Philadelphia, PA 19104, USA.


In response to elevated temperatures, cells from many organisms rapidly transcribe a number of mRNAs. In Saccharomyces cerevisiae, this protective response involves two regulatory systems: the heat shock transcription factor (Hsf1) and the Msn2 and Msn4 (Msn2/4) transcription factors. Both systems modulate the induction of specific heat shock genes. However, the contribution of Hsf1, independent of Msn2/4, is only beginning to emerge. To address this question, we constructed an msn2/4 double mutant and used microarrays to elucidate the genome-wide expression program of Hsf1. The data showed that 7.6% of the genome was heat-induced. The up-regulated genes belong to a wide range of functional categories, with a significant increase in the chaperone and metabolism genes. We then focused on the contribution of the activation domains of Hsf1 to the expression profile and extended our analysis to include msn2/4Delta strains deleted for the N-terminal or C-terminal activation domain of Hsf1. Cluster analysis of the heat-induced genes revealed activation domain-specific patterns of expression, with each cluster also showing distinct preferences for functional categories. Computational analysis of the promoters of the induced genes affected by the loss of an activation domain showed a distinct preference for positioning and topology of the Hsf1 binding site. This study provides insight into the important role that both activation domains play for the Hsf1 regulatory system to rapidly and effectively transcribe its regulon in response to heat shock.

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