Nonconventional splicing of the gene encoding the Hac1p transcription activator regulates the unfolded protein response (UPR) in Saccharomyces cerevisiae. This simple on/off switch contrasts with a more complex circuitry in higher eukaryotes. Here we show that a heretofore unrecognized pathway operates in yeast to regulate the transcription of HAC1. The resulting increase in Hac1p production, combined with the production or activation of a putative UPR modulatory factor, is necessary to qualitatively modify the cellular response in order to survive the inducing conditions. This parallel endoplasmic reticulumtonucleus signaling pathway thereby serves to modify the UPR-driven transcriptional program. The results suggest a surprising conservation among all eukaryotes of the ways by which the elements of the UPR signaling circuit are connected. We show that by adding an additional signaling element to the basic UPR circuit, a simple switch is transformed into a complex response.