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Genes Dev. 2004 Jul 1;18(13):1606-17.

The MTE, a new core promoter element for transcription by RNA polymerase II.

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  • 1Section of Molecular Biology, University of California at San Diego, La Jolla, California 92093, USA.


The core promoter is the ultimate target of the vast network of regulatory factors that contribute to the initiation of transcription by RNA polymerase II. Here we describe the MTE (motif ten element), a new core promoter element that appears to be conserved from Drosophila to humans. The MTE promotes transcription by RNA polymerase II when it is located precisely at positions +18 to +27 relative to A(+1) in the initiator (Inr) element. MTE sequences from +18 to +22 relative to A(+1) are important for basal transcription, and a region from +18 to +27 is sufficient to confer MTE activity to heterologous core promoters. The MTE requires the Inr, but functions independently of the TATA-box and DPE. Notably, the loss of transcriptional activity upon mutation of a TATA-box or DPE can be compensated by the addition of an MTE. In addition, the MTE exhibits strong synergism with the TATA-box as well as the DPE. These findings indicate that the MTE is a novel downstream core promoter element that is important for transcription by RNA polymerase II.

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