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Inactivation of the centromere-binding factor 1 (CBF1) gene results in yeast strains that require methionine for growth. This auxotrophy is due to the inability of such strains to concentrate and assimilate sulfate from the medium. Northern (RNA) blot experiments reveal that the CBF1 protein is required for full induction of MET25 and MET16 gene transcription. However, we show that induction of the sulfate assimilation pathway is not achieved solely by CBF1. This induction also requires the integrity of a positive trans-acting factor, encoded by the MET4 gene. The MET4 gene was cloned, and its sequence reveals that it encodes a protein related to the family of the bZIP transcriptional activators. Evidence that MET4 is a transcriptional activator was provided by demonstrating that DNA-bound LexA-MET4 fusion proteins stimulate expression of a nearby promoter. The use of LexA-MET4 fusion proteins also reveals that the leucine zipper of MET4 is required for the recognition of the MET25 promoter. Moreover, an 18-bp fragment of the MET25 5' upstream region was found to confer S-adenosylmethionine-dependent regulation of a fusion gene. This regulation was shown to depend on both MET4 and CBF1. The obtained results suggest that the binding of CBF1 to its cognate sequences increases the ability of MET4 to stimulate transcription of the MET genes.