The yeast LPD1 gene encoding lipoamide dehydrogenase is subject to the general control of amino acid biosynthesis mediated by the GCN4 transcription factor. This is striking in that it demonstrates that GCN4-mediated regulation extends much farther upstream than simply to the direct pathways for amino acid and purine biosynthesis. In yeast, lipoamide dehydrogenase functions in at least three multienzyme complexes: pyruvate dehydrogenase and 2-oxoglutarate dehydrogenase (which function in the entry of pyruvate into, and metabolism via, the citric acid cycle) and glycine decarboxylase. When wild-type cells were shifted from growth on amino acid-rich to amino acid-deficient medium, the expression of lipoamide dehydrogenase was induced approx. 2-fold. In a similar experiment no such induction was observed in isogenic gcn4 mutant cells. Northern analysis indicated that amino acid starvation affected levels of the LPD1 transcript. In the upstream region of LPD1 are three matches to the consensus for control mediated by GCN4. Directed mutagenesis of each site, and of all combinations of sites, suggests that only one site might be important for the general control response under the conditions tested. Gel-retardation analysis with GCN4 protein synthesized in vitro has indicated that GCN4 can bind in vitro to at least two of the consensus motifs.

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