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Mol Cell Biol. Mar 1988; 8(3): 1266–1274.
PMCID: PMC363272

Transcription of the Drosophila melanogaster 5S RNA gene requires an upstream promoter and four intragenic sequence elements.


Linker-scanning (LS) mutations were constructed spanning the length of the Drosophila melanogaster 5S RNA gene. In vitro transcription analysis of the LS 5S DNAs revealed five transcription control regions. One control region essential for transcription initiation was identified in the 5'-flanking sequence. The major sequence determinants of this upstream promoter region were located between coordinates -39 and -26 (-30 region), but important sequences extended to the transcription start site at position 1. Since mutations in the upstream promoter did not alter the ability of 5S DNA to sequester transcription factors into a stable transcription complex, it appears that this control region involved the interaction of RNA polymerase III. Active 5S DNA transcription additionally required the four intragenic control regions (ICRs) located between coordinates 3 and 18 (ICR I), 37 and 44 (ICR II), 48 and 61 (ICR III), and 78 and 98 (ICR IV). LS mutations in each ICR decreased the ability of 5S DNA to sequester transcription factors. ICR III, ICR IV, and the spacer sequence between were similar in sequence and position to the determinant elements of the multipartite ICR of Xenopus 5S DNA. The importance of ICR III and ICR IV in transcription initiation and in sequestering transcription factors suggests the presence of an activity in D. melanogaster similar to transcription factor TFIIIA of Xenopus laevis and HeLa cells. Transcription initiation of Drosophila 5S DNA was not eliminated by LS mutations in the spacer region even though these mutations reduced the ability of the TFIIIA-like activity to bind. The previously unidentified control regions ICR I and ICR II appear to be important for the interaction of a transcription factor activity, or multiple-factor activities, distinct from the TFIIIA-like activity. The interaction of this activity with ICR I directed the selection of the transcription start site.

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Selected References

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