In Saccharomyces cerevisiae, two major signal transduction pathways, the Kss1 MAPK pathway and the cAMP-regulated pathway, are critical for the differentiation of round yeast form cells to multicellular, invasive pseudohyphae. Here we report that these parallel pathways converge on the promoter of a gene, FLO11, which encodes a cell surface protein required for pseudohyphal formation. The FLO11 promoter is unusually large, containing at least four upstream activation sequences (UASs) and nine repression elements which together span at least 2.8 kb. Several lines of evidence indicate that the MAPK and cAMP signals are received by distinct transcription factors and promoter elements. First, regulation via the MAPK pathway requires the transcription factors Ste12p/Tec1p, whereas cAMP-mediated activation requires a distinct factor, Flo8p. Secondly, mutations in either pathway block FLO11 transcription. Overexpression of STE12 can suppress the loss of FLO8, and overexpression of FLO8 can suppress the loss of STE12. Finally, multiple distinct promoter regions of the FLO11 promoter are required for its activation by either Flo8p or Ste12p/ Tec1p. Thus, like the promoters of the key developmental genes, HO and IME1, the FLO11 promoter is large and complex, endowing it with the ability to integrate multiple inputs.
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