Combinatorial control required for the specificity of yeast MAPK signaling.
In yeast, an overlapping set of mitogen-activated protein kinase (MAPK) signaling components controls mating, haploid invasion, and pseudohyphal development. Paradoxically, a single downstream transcription factor, Ste12, is necessary for the execution of these distinct programs. Developmental specificity was found to require a transcription factor of the TEA/ATTS family, Tec1, which cooperates with Ste12 during filamentous and invasive growth. Purified derivatives of Ste12 and Tec1 bind cooperatively to enhancer elements called filamentation and invasion response elements (FREs), which program transcription that is specifically responsive to the MAPK signaling components required for filamentous growth. An FRE in the TEC1 promoter functions in a positive feedback loop required for pseudohyphal development.