When the yeast is exposed to elevated growth temperatures, genes containing a heat shock element (HSE) in their promoters are activated. This study demonstrates that alcohols lower the temperature required for the maximal activation of such a promoter and that the concentration of alcohol required decreases as its hydrophobicity increases. A similar correlation has been found between the members of this alcohol series and their effect on a range of membrane functions. Our results therefore indicate that perturbation of the cell membrane may play a role in the heat induced activation of this HSE-containing promoter.


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