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Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A. Sep 13, 1994; 91(19): 9106–9110.
PMCID: PMC44756

The transcription factor TFIIS zinc ribbon dipeptide Asp-Glu is critical for stimulation of elongation and RNA cleavage by RNA polymerase II.

Abstract

The eukaryotic transcription factor TFIIS enhances elongation and nascent transcript cleavage activities of RNA polymerase II in a stalled elongation complex. By site-directed mutagenesis, we have demonstrated that invariant residues Asp-261 and Glu-262 of the nucleic acid-binding TFIIS Zn ribbon are critical for stimulation of both elongation and RNA cleavage activities of RNA polymerase II. Substitution of either of these residues inactivates both TFIIS functions, suggesting a related role in both activities. These acidic residues may participate in phosphoryl transfer reactions by a two-metal-ion mechanism in a manner analogous to Klenow fragment. The RNA polymerase II itself may contain a Zn ribbon, in as much as the polymerase's 15-kDa subunit contains a sequence that aligns well with the TFIIS Zn ribbon sequence, including a similarly placed pair of acidic residues.

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Selected References

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