Molecular and General Genetics MGG

, Volume 209, Issue 3, pp 508–517

Regulation of MAL gene expression in yeast: Gene dosage effects


  • Michael J. Goldenthal
    • Department of BiochemistryAlbert Einstein College of Medicine
  • Marco Vanoni
    • Department of BiochemistryAlbert Einstein College of Medicine
  • Barbara Buchferer
    • Department of BiochemistryAlbert Einstein College of Medicine
  • Julius Marmur
    • Department of BiochemistryAlbert Einstein College of Medicine

DOI: 10.1007/BF00331157

Cite this article as:
Goldenthal, M.J., Vanoni, M., Buchferer, B. et al. Mol Gen Genet (1987) 209: 508. doi:10.1007/BF00331157


Both the MAL1 and MAL6 loci in Saccharomyces strains have been shown by functional and structural studies to comprise a cluster of at least three genes necessary for maltose utilization. They include regulatory, maltose transport and maltase genes designated MALR, MALT and MALS, respectively. Subclones of each gene derived from the MAL6 locus were inserted into the multicopy shuttle plasmid YEp13, introduced into MAL1 and mal1 strains and the effects of altered gene dosage of each gene, or a combination of them, on MAL gene expression investigated. MAL1 strains transformed with a plasmid carrying the MAL6S gene showed coordinate four to five fold increases in both maltase enzyme activity and its mRNA, whereas no increase in maltose transport activity or of MALT mRNA was observed when MAL6T was present on multicopy plasmids. The presence of the MAL6R gene on a multicopy plasmid led to greatly increased transcription of both inducible and constitutive mRNAs with homology to the regulatory gene; it also gave rise to two fold increases in both induced maltase mRNA levels and enzyme activity, but only in the presence of maltose. However, it had no apparent effect on the accumulation of MALT mRNA. Finally, the induction kinetics of plasmid-borne and chromosomal MALS and MALT gene expression were examined under conditions of altered gene dosage of the MAL6 regulatory and structural genes. The results of these experiments indicate that MALR encodes a trans-acting positive activator that requires maltose for induction of MALS and MALT transcription even when the regulatory gene is present on a multicopy plasmid. Maltose transport can be a rate-limiting factor in MAL gene expression, at least in the early stages of induction. The regulation of the MALS and MALT genes, whose activities are coordinately induced in MAL1 strains by maltose, may in fact exhibit some important differences.

Key words

Maltose fermentationTranscriptional regulationRegulatory mutantsMaltose permeaseMaltase
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© Springer-Verlag 1987