It has been shown that the so-called stationary phase GSY2 gene encoding glycogen synthase was induced as the cells left the exponential phase of growth, while glucose and all other nutrients were still plentiful in the medium (Parrou et al., 1999). Since this effect was essentially controlled at the transcriptional level, we looked for the cis- and trans-acting elements required for this specific growth-related genetic event. We demonstrated that mutations of the HAP2/3/4 binding site and of the two STress-Responsive cis-Elements (STRE) did not abolish the early induction of GSY2, although the latter mutation led to a 20-fold drop in the transcriptional activity of the promoter, as determined from lacZ gene fusions. Insertion of a DNA fragment (from −390 to −167 bp, relative to the ATG) of the promoter lacking the two STREs, upstream to the TATA box of a CYC1–lacZ fusion gene, allowed this reporter gene to be induced with a kinetic similar to that of GSY2–lacZ. Mutations in BCY1, which results in a hyperactive protein kinase A, did not alleviate the early induction, while causing a five- to 10-fold reduction in the transcriptional activity of GSY2. In addition, the repressive effect of protein kinase A was quantitatively conserved when both STREs were mutated in GSY2 promoter, indicating that the negative control of gene expression by the RAS–cAMP signalling pathway does not act solely through STREs. Taken together, these results are indicative of an active process that couples growth control to dynamic glucose consumption. Copyright © 1999 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.