Slt2 MAPK association with chromatin is required for transcriptional activation of Rlm1 dependent genes upon cell wall stress.

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The regulation of gene expression through the cell wall integrity (CWI) pathway in yeast is mainly coordinated by the MAPK Slt2 and the transcription factor Rlm1. In this work, we elucidate a new role for Slt2 as a part of the transcriptional activation machinery that regulates CWI gene expression in response to cell wall stress. We show that Slt2 is recruited to promoters and coding regions of CWI Rlm1-dependent genes in response to stress. This phenomenon is dependent both on the activation of the MAPK and its kinase activity. Slt2 binding is also dependent on Rlm1 and SWI/SNF and SAGA complexes. During the initial steps of transcription, the catalytic activity of Slt2 on Rlm1 is critical for the binding of the activator to promoters in response to stress. In addition, Slt2 itself acts as a transactivator, as it is able to induce the transcription of CWI responsive genes when it is bound to promoters through the Rlm1 binding domain independently of its catalytic activity. Slt2 interacts with RNA Pol II in a Rlm1-dependent manner to provide further support to a role of this MAPK as an integral component of the transcriptional complexes under cell wall stress. Selective recruitment and progression of the complex Slt2-RNA Pol II from the promoters to the coding regions of Rlm1-dependent genes does not rely on Paf1, suggesting a different mechanism from that which is exerted by Slt2 on the Swi4/Swi6 (SBF)-regulated genes.