Transcriptional responses of the yeast Saccharomyces cerevisiae to Zn availability were investigated at a fixed specific growth rate under limiting and abundant Zn concentrations in chemostat culture. To investigate the context dependency of this transcriptional response and eliminate growth rate-dependent variations in transcription, yeast was grown under several chemostat regimens, resulting in various carbon (glucose), nitrogen (ammonium), zinc, and oxygen supplies. A robust set of genes that responded consistently to Zn limitation was identified, and the set enabled the definition of the Zn-specific Zap1p regulon, comprised of 26 genes and characterized by a broader zinc-responsive element consensus (MHHAACCBYNMRGGT) than so far described. Most surprising was the Zn-dependent regulation of genes involved in storage carbohydrate metabolism. Their concerted down-regulation was physiologically relevant as revealed by a substantial decrease in glycogen and trehalose cellular content under Zn limitation. An unexpectedly large number of genes were synergistically or antagonistically regulated by oxygen and Zn availability. This combinatorial regulation suggested a more prominent involvement of Zn in mitochondrial biogenesis and function than hitherto identified.
- Saccharomyces cerevisiae