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Saccharomyces cerevisiae contains eight members of a novel and fungus-specific family of bZIP proteins that is defined by four atypical residues on the DNA-binding surface. Two of these proteins, Yap1 and Yap2, are transcriptional activators involved in pleiotropic drug resistance. Although initially described as AP-1 factors, at least four Yap proteins bind most efficiently to TTACTAA, a sequence that differs at position +/-2 from the optimal AP-1 site (TGACTCA); further, a Yap-like derivative of the AP-1 factor Gcn4 (A239Q S242F) binds efficiently to the Yap recognition sequence. Molecular modeling suggests that the Yap-specific residues make novel contacts and cause physical constraints at the +/-2 position that may account for the distinct DNA-binding specificities of Yap and AP-1 proteins. To various extents, Yap1, Yap2, Yap3, and Yap5 activate transcription from a promoter containing a Yap recognition site. Yap-dependent transcription is abolished in strains containing high levels of protein kinase A; in contrast, Gcn4 transcriptional activity is stimulated by protein kinase A. Interestingly, Yap1 transcriptional activity is stimulated by hydrogen peroxide, whereas Yap2 activity is stimulated by aminotriazole and cadmium. In addition, unlike other yap mutations tested, yap4 (cin5) mutations affect chromosome stability, and they suppress the cold-sensitive phenotype of yap1 mutant strains. Thus, members of the Yap family carry out overlapping but distinct biological functions.