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Genetics. 1998 Jun;149(2):879-92.

Mot3, a Zn finger transcription factor that modulates gene expression and attenuates mating pheromone signaling in Saccharomyces cerevisiae.

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Department of Cell Biology and Physiology, Washington University School of Medicine, St. Louis, Missouri 63110, USA.


In the yeast Saccharomyces cerevisiae, mating pheromone response is initiated by activation of a G protein- and mitogen-activated protein (MAP) kinase-dependent signaling pathway and attenuated by several mechanisms that promote adaptation or desensitization. To identify genes whose products negatively regulate pheromone signaling, we screened for mutations that suppress the hyperadaptive phenotype of wild-type cells overexpressing signaling-defective G protein beta subunits. This identified recessive mutations in MOT3, which encodes a nuclear protein with two Cys2-His2 Zn fingers. MOT3 was found to be a dosage-dependent inhibitor of pheromone response and pheromone-induced gene expression and to require an intact signaling pathway to exert its effects. Several results suggested that Mot3 attenuates expression of pheromone-responsive genes by mechanisms distinct from those used by the negative transcriptional regulators Cdc36, Cdc39, and Mot2. First, a Mot3-lexA fusion functions as a transcriptional activator. Second, Mot3 is a dose-dependent activator of several genes unrelated to pheromone response, including CYC1, SUC2, and LEU2. Third, insertion of consensus Mot3 binding sites (C/A/T)AGG(T/C)A activates a promoter in a MOT3-dependent manner. These findings, and the fact that consensus binding sites are found in the 5' flanking regions of many yeast genes, suggest that Mot3 is a globally acting transcriptional regulator. We hypothesize that Mot3 regulates expression of factors that attenuate signaling by the pheromone response pathway.

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