In Saccharomyces cerevisiae, we have demonstrated that organic solvent stress activated the pleiotropic drug resistance (PDR) pathway, which involves the transcription factors Pdr1p and Pdr3p. Pdr1p and Pdr3p are functionally homologous in multidrug resistance, although Pdr3p has been reported to have some distinct functions. Here, we analyzed the functions of Pdr1p and Pdr3p during the cellular response to isooctane, as a representative of organic solvents, and observed the differential functions of Pdr1p and Pdr3p. In response to organic solvent stress, only Pdr3p contributed to the regulation of downstream genes of the PDR pathway, while Pdr1p had a rather inhibitory role on transcriptional induction through competition with Pdr3p for binding to their recognition sequence, pleiotropic drug response element. Our results demonstrated that organic solvent stress was likely to damage mitochondria, causing generation of reactive oxygen species and mitochondrial fragmentation, and to activate retrograde signaling pathway via Pdr3p to upregulate PDR5 expression. Therefore, the unique function of Pdr3p in organic solvent stress distinguishes this pathway from the multidrug response.
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