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J Biosci Bioeng. 2009 Jan;107(1):1-6. doi: 10.1016/j.jbiosc.2008.09.005.

Ethanol stress stimulates the Ca2+-mediated calcineurin/Crz1 pathway in Saccharomyces cerevisiae.

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National Research Institute of Brewing, 3-7-1, Kagamiyama, Higashihiroshima 739-0046, Japan.


Environmental stimuli elicit a stress response, which helps to maintain cell survival. In budding yeast Saccharomyces cerevisiae, environmental cues can activate calcineurin, a highly conserved Ca2+-- and calmodulin-dependent protein phosphatase. Calcineurin dephosphorylates the transcription factor Crz1, leading to accumulation of Crz1 in the nuclei and expression of stress responsive genes under the control of a calcineurin-dependent response element (CDRE). Ethanol is the final product of sugar fermentation by yeast, and thus a frequently encountered yeast stressor. However, adaptation of yeast to ethanol stress is poorly understood. In this study, we show that ethanol stimulates calcineurin-dependent nuclear localization of Crz1 and CDRE-dependent gene expression. Moreover, cells in which CRZ1 is deleted exhibit defective adaptation to ethanol stress, while a multicopy plasmid of CRZ1 confers an increased level of adaptive stress tolerance to ethanol. Taken together, the results indicate that ethanol activates the calcineurin/Crz1 pathway and that CRZ1 is crucial for cell survival under ethanol-induced stress.

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