In Saccharomyces cerevisiae, Haa1 and War1 transcription factors are involved in cellular adaptation against hydrophilic weak acids and lipophilic weak acids, respectively. However, it is unclear how these transcription factors are differentially activated depending on the identity of the weak acid. Using a field-effect transistor (FET)-type biosensor based on carbon nanofibers, in the present study we demonstrate that Haa1 and War1 directly bind to various weak acid anions with different affinities. Haa1 is most sensitive to acetate, followed by lactate, whereas War1 is most sensitive to benzoate, followed by sorbate, reflecting their differential activation during weak acid stresses. We show that DNA binding by Haa1 is induced in the presence of acetic acid and that the N-terminal Zn-binding domain is essential for this activity. Acetate binds to the N-terminal 150-residue region, and the transcriptional activation domain is located between amino acid residues 230 and 483. Our data suggest that acetate binding converts an inactive Haa1 to the active form, which is capable of DNA binding and transcriptional activation.