The yeast Pho85 kinase oversees whether environmental conditions are favourable for cell growth and enables yeast cells to express only genes that are appropriate for the conditions. Alkaline stress perturbs transport of molecules across the plasma membrane that is vital for cell survival. Progression through the cell cycle is halted until the cells can adapt to the stress conditions. I found that Pho85 is required for CLN2 expression and that overproduction of the transcription factors Pho4, Rim101 and Crz1, all targets of Pho85, inhibited CLN2 expression. CLN2 expression in the absence of Pho85 could be recovered only when all the three transcription factors were deleted. Whi5, a functional homologue of the mammalian Rb protein, represses CLN2 expression and is inactivated when phosphorylated by either of the CDK-cyclin complexes, Cdc28-Cln3 or Pho85-Pcl9. Under alkaline conditions, the absence of Whi5 caused an increase in CLN2 expression but failed to do so when Pho85 was also absent, or when Pho4 was overproduced. The expression level of CLN2 in a Δpho85 Δpho4 Δrim101 Δcrz1 quadruple mutant was stimulated when the Whi5 activity was repressed by overproduction of Pho85-Pcl9. These results indicate that Whi5 is also under control of alkaline stress. The inhibitory function of Whi5 on CLN2 is dependent on Rpd3 HDAC, and the absence of Rpd3 could also suppress the inhibitory effect of Pho4 overproduction. Based on these findings, a model is presented in which Pho85 and Pho4 functions in CLN2 regulation under alkaline conditions.
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