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GSH1, Which Encodes Gamma-glutamylcysteine Synthetase, Is A Target Gene For YAP-1 Transcriptional Regulation.

A L Wu, W S Moye-Rowley

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Changes in gene dosage of the YAP1 gene, encoding the yAP-1 transcriptional regulatory protein, cause profound alterations in cellular drug and metal resistance. Previous studies on yAP-1 action in yeast cells have used the AP-1 response element (ARE) from simian virus 40 as an artificial site for yAP-1-mediated transcriptional activation. No authentic yeast target sites for control of gene expression by yAP-1 are known. Here we show that the GSH1 gene, encoding gamma-glutamylcysteine synthetase, is transcriptionally responsive to the yAP-1 protein. GSH1 encodes the rate-limiting step in yeast glutathione biosynthesis and contains within its promoter region a DNA element that matches the ARE in 11 of 12 positions. The GSH1 yAP-1 response element (YRE) was recognized by yAP-1 protein in vitro. Northern (RNA) blot analysis showed that GSH1 mRNA levels were responsive to YAP1 gene dosage. A site-directed mutation in the YRE that blocked yAP-1 binding in vitro prevented the mutant GSH1 promoter from responding to elevation in YAP1 gene dosage. A delta gsh1 mutant strain was constructed and unable to grow in the absence of exogenous glutathione. A mutant GSH1 gene lacking the YRE was unable to confer normal cadmium tolerance, although other yAP-1-mediated phenotypes remained normal. Thus, GSH1 is one of several genes that are transcriptionally controlled by yAP-1 and influence drug resistance.